The Big Shift

Lately, it seems like many life lessons are stacking up in front of me on a daily basis. I really don’t know if it’s because I’m no longer working outside the home, so I have more time to notice the signs and signals, or if it’s just because I’m getting older and becoming more reflective.  I guess it could be a combination of both.

Sometimes, my day will flood with them, and it can be a bit overwhelming.  This blog has helped me regurgitate these lessons and take them off the spinning wheel that is my brain. However, lately, I have been so tired of reading my own words, I needed a break. Hearing myself “talk” always exhausts me, yet, without fail, I am never at a loss for words.

So, I was on a break… and yet, I had a “chance” conversation that I cannot get out of my head. You know when you get sound advice from a friend, and you’re so impressed with how that advice not only helped you at that moment, but it has stuck with you for weeks after?  You may have gotten that same advice, or at least was aware of it before that moment, but for some reason, this was the exact time you should hear it.

I had that experience.

I run the volunteers and donations for our elementary school’s health room.  It is a volunteer gig that I feel like a complete failure doing. I really do not do it well, despite all my best efforts. Not many want to volunteer in there.

The beginning of the year is always tough. No one has time to volunteer.  They are running out to the get folders their kids suddenly need, dropping off the lunch boxes their kids left on the counters, and just trying to get back into a routine.

So, the second week of school, our nurse was very down on how I was unable to staff the room, and how little she was receiving in donations.  She was questioning my processes in a way that made me feel terrible.

I left the room feeling like “Woe is me. I try hard, but she doesn’t care.”  I walked into the library and saw a friendly face. The woman who owns the face can always be counted on for honesty. I walked up to her and began to tell her how frustrated I was about the encounter with the nurse.

After I finished dumping my pity party on her, she said, without missing a beat, and without any judgement (that I could tell anyway)….

“Wow.  She must really be having a bad day.”

Just staring at the words now, I see how profound they are. She did not comfort me. She didn’t pacify my little pitiful attempt at feeling righteous. She saw right through the issue and shifted my perspective.

The next day, I saw the nurse. I felt guilty, and a bit sick to my stomach over the entire situation. The nurse ran to me. Ran to me. Arms in the air, saying, “There she is!” Then, she hugged me tight and thanked me for helping her. And I knew.

It wasn’t personal.

She had had a bad day.  I was there. I was safe to dump on.

So, I learned a valuable lesson when my friend chose not to appease me, and instead chose to help me in a way that is much greater.

I learned to remember, we are all human. We all have bad days. Most of the time, we are trying to get from point A to B, while wading in a hip high pile of mud to get there.

We all need grace.

When I stand across from a woman, and order food, and she won’t look at me or smile…

When a person cuts me off while owning the road in front of me, and flips me off….

When someone decides to snap at me, with no patience….

I will remember what my friend said:

“Whoa. He/She must really be having a bad day.”

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