He entered the building and looked lost. I watched him through the glass and we made eye contact, briefly. I went back to the computer screen, silently hoping he would find his way, but I could see him make his way to our door. Mr. Munson, as I would soon learn, was here for an appointment with his accountant to work on taxes. He spoke very quietly as he asked,
“Do you know Cathy?”
Our office is the first you see after entering the building. The entire front of our space is glass, and I sit at the desk that everyone can see from the hallway, quite often mistaken for the building receptionist and information booth question answerer.
After explaining to Mr. Munson that we were an executive search firm and no, I did not know Cathy, and seeing his frustration and confusion, I felt obliged to help this elderly man find his way. He sat down on the couch and I made my way to the hall to inquire in the other first floor offices if Cathy the CPA was known by any of them.
No such luck.
I came back into the office and took my place on my perch again, again explaining that I was unable to locate Cathy the CPA. At the same time, I was late for an appointment and needed to leave.
Mr. Munson sat.
He showed me his file. I quickly researched online to locate this CPA, called the number he had written down that went straight to an automated voicemail, called another possible number I stumbled upon that was disconnected, and told him how sorry I was that I could not help him reach his destination.
We both exited the office, me in a hurry, he, in an elderly hesitation and unsure of where to go.
My co-worker and I were driving down the street reflecting on this poor man who seemed so lost, when it dawned on us to call the corporate office of the complex. Maybe THEY would know Cathy the CPA. I called our office and enlisted help as other co-workers watched Mr. Munson shuffle slowly out to the parking lot.
Long story slightly shorter:
Another co-worker struck gold, ushered our new elderly friend back inside, and 25 minutes later when I returned, Mr. Munson was getting up from our couch one more time, this time to go meet Cathy the CPA, located in another building within our complex.
As he left, he remarked more than once, “I’ve never been treated so kind by strangers.”
I should buy a lottery ticket.
Driving to work this morning, I passed eight stoplights. Seven were green.
Pet peeve #468: People who yawn and talk at the same time.
Pet peeve #469: Stinky office refrigerators because people who yawn and talk at the same time also leave stinky food in the refrigerator. For days.
Pet peeve #470: Dirty microwaves left dirty because I am too tired to clean them when they get spattered, and then dirty microwaves are discovered the next morning…by me.
My Bingo friends are dwindling.
I went to call Bingo last night for the group at the assisted living facility down the street. My group, which once was comprised of 16 residents in its heyday, had four players last night. Ken has fallen and is not getting around so easily these days. Helen was in her room and under the covers because she didn’t realize it was Bingo night.
Avis was her frisky self, anxious to share the latest gossip. Barb sat down and was as confused as ever but so happy to play, thrilled when I gave her TWO cards instead of one. Louene, my 101 year old brilliance, was eager and sharp as ever. Betty joined us just before we began game #1, and ever so sweet and gracious.
When I call numbers, I always call someone’s birthday number with their name: Avis’ favorite, I-23. I-2-3. (Her birthday is on the 23rd.) Barb’s best, I-26. I-2-6.
Best number in the world, B-11. B-1-1! (That’s MY birthday number, and my daughter’s.)
I still call Katherine’s, and Ruth’s, and Jim’s. Even though they are no longer with us.
Last night, sweet and gracious Betty made me laugh out loud.
“It’s funny how you always call those numbers like that.”
“But it’s kind of creepy when you call the ones who are dead.”
I am grateful for Mr. Munson and the opportunity to smile at a stranger.
I am grateful for green lights on the way to work.
I am grateful that I have a little bit of patience to deal with my pet peeves.
I am grateful for a yoo hoo bird greeting as I walked in to the office this morning.
I am grateful for my Bingo friends and the opportunity to see them on Tuesday evenings.
I am grateful for Linda and her wisdom and her friendship and her writing.
What if we all took ten minutes and stopped what we were doing. What if we took down our protest signs, political posts, guns and tear gas? What if we took off our v**ina hats, our rainbow hats, our skull caps and our white pillowcases? What if we reached over and removed the chip off our shoulder and laid it on the ground. What if we took one giant step out of our comfort zone? What if we reached out to our enemy real and perceived? What if we hugged that person? Held that person tight. Felt their heart beating. Understood that they too were made of flesh and bone. Realized that person is human just like you and me. Recognized the person you consider an enemy also has fears, dreams, family, beliefs and pain. What if we all took that ten minutes and shut up, cleared our minds and just felt with our hearts? What if? – Linda Francis, future author of a really great book
I am grateful for my boss. She makes coming to work each day a joy. She is just one reason I love my job. This is what I found this morning on my keyboard:
I am grateful, in a weird kind of way, that my daughter’s heart hurts as she watches her own daughter sitting on the bench, not getting to play basketball when CLEARLY her little girl, who is only 7 years old, is so good at basketball but the coach is biased and makes stupid coaching decisions and leaves his best player on the bench. My daughter now understands her mom’s anguish. Welcome to my world, Karissa. It is a heart-hurting kind of mother’s world. I am not grateful that your heart hurts, but I am grateful that you now understand a little of my pain all the years of your growing up.
Mom vs. The Coach. Let the fun & games begin.
Friday, June 13, 1980. Troy picked me up for our first date. Before we left, he read Psalm 46:1 to me. “The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I’m sure he read more, but that was the verse I remembered. And then we headed to town, my first motorcycle ride and our first date. And my first and only major accident which led to multiple surgeries and life change. And through every surgery and hospital stay, I kept Psalm 46:1 near and dear.
So, finally, I have heard this message three times this week, and I want to listen again. I do not want to be Henny Penny or Loosey Goosey or Turkey Lurkey. I do not want to listen to doomsdayers. I want to fill my mind with gratitude and joy and hope and peace and have open arms and a smile for every stranger. I am so very grateful for Psalm 46 and for God’s hand on my life, throughout my life. And I am so grateful for this message and reminder that the sky is NOT falling.