Congratulations! You are about to conclude a major event in your life! That’s something to celebrate! Unfortunately, during these tough economic times we are all dealing with many tough challenges. My question, how is your gratitude and compassion?
I would like to share two stories.
It’s nearly 90 degrees on a July afternoon during rush hour. The sun is creating shimmery heat waves off the highway in the distance. Orange barrels begin to appear. Construction is up ahead. Traffic is beginning to slow to snail’s pace.
Jane is sitting in a 10-year-old Ford Taurus station wagon, nicknamed Old Blue. Old Blue has over 200,000 miles, but has no rust, uses very little oil and still gets nearly 28 mph on the highway.
A song comes on the radio. It's an old song that reminds Jane of when she and a boyfriend, Jim, were dating. They had driven over to the mountains to see the fall foliage. This song had come on the radio and they sang together as if they were a duet live on stage. They had laughed. It had been a wonderful Saturday afternoon.
Jane glances in the rear view mirror. She sees the sail bag and rudder-tiller for the family sailboat, Time Out. They use Old Blue to pull their sailboat to the lake. They had a pleasant sail this past Sunday. There had not been much of a breeze, so they just sat in the water a lot. They had brought their picnic lunch along with them and ate it on Time Out. They had used pieces of bread from their sandwiches to feed the fish that swam near the boat. Since there wasn’t much wind, they decided to tip the sailboat over and practice getting the boat upright. It had been a great lesson in case of emergency. The water had been refreshing and the family had had fun splashing each other.
A car is entering the highway on Jane’s left. Jane stops to let the car get in front of her. Jane notices the person behind her isn’t happy with her allowing the car to cut in. The man’s arms are raised up the air as if he gives up. Jane just shrugs her shoulders.
Jane notices the bumper sticker on the BMW 535 ahead of her, “My other car is a pair of hiking boots.” Jane laughs out loud. A flock of geese fly overhead. She is reminded of her father who has died. She remembers that the habits of geese were very team oriented. They fly much further in the V formation than if they flew alone. Geese change leadership position and honk as if to give each other encouragement. This discussion about geese was the last conversation she had ever had with her father. He died of a heart attack that night. A tear rolls down her cheek. She misses her father, but smiles as she recalls memories of him.
Traffic continues to creep along. Jane sees a billboard with the message, “That ‘Love thy neighbor business’…. I meant it. GOD.” Jane recalls an incident at work where a coworker complained constantly about having to work overtime and their president who made an obscene salary. Jane just listened to her. She wanted to tell her coworker to go find another job if she didn’t like things around there. She recognized that her coworker was an excellent worker. The coworker always got her work done on time with very little error. She also knew that her coworker was going through a divorce and that her father had cancer. Jane decided she could put up with the complaints.
The sun was now directly in her eyes as she rounded the bend in the highway. Jane suddenly realized she had her clip-on sunglasses in her sun visor. The sunglasses made the sky look even bluer. Such color was took her breath away. This would be a lovely evening to grill hamburgers and sit outside her room mate. Traffic was beginning to break up and regain speed. Jane had realized that she had gone only 3 miles in the last 30 minutes, but she would be home within the next fifteen minutes. Life was good.
It’s nearly 90 degrees on a July afternoon during rush hour. The sun is creating shimmery heat waves off the highway in the distance. Orange barrels begin to appear. Construction is up ahead. Traffic is beginning to slow to a snail’s pace.
Betty is sitting in her 10-year-old Ford Taurus station wagon her father had given her. Betty is embarrassed to drive this old car with over 200,000 miles. It is out of style. She complained to her friends that she needed a new car. One friend pointed out that the car was paid for and still ran well. Her father was a tightwad. She deserved better.
A song comes on the radio. It's an old song that reminds Betty of when she and an old boyfriend had gone on a date. They had slow danced to the song. She remembers her boyfriend getting aroused. They had a some pretty good times together. Unlike her current boyfriend, a tightwad, he'd taken her to all the best places. She wonders why they ever broke up.
Betty glances in the rear view mirror. She sees the sail bag and rudder-tiller for their family sailboat, she calls “Money Pit.” It seemed like her father was always buying something for the boat. She hated to sail, but went along to keep peace. Sailing this past this Sunday had been a pain. There had not been much of a breeze, so they sat in the water a lot. They had brought their picnic lunch along with them and ate it on the boat. The sandwiches had been warm and the lettuce had wilted. Her mother jumped in the water to cool off, but she wouldn’t go in, especially after she saw blue gills swarming near the boat after they’d had thrown bread from their sandwiches overboard. Besides, the water didn’t look anything like those pictures of people swimming off sailboats in the Caribbean.
A car is entering the highway on Betty’s left. Betty pulls up closer to the car in front of her. She wants to get home, but this car is forcing her to let them in. Betty yells an obscenity even though the woman in front of her cannot hear her. Betty notices the person behind her isn’t happy with her allowing the car to cut in. The man’s arms are raised up the air as if he gives up. Betty yells at him that the woman forced her way in. “Dumb son of a …. Why don’t you come up here and drive for both of us?”
Betty notices the bumper sticker on the BMW 535 ahead of her, “My other car is a pair of hiking boots.” Betty smirks, and wonders, “What kind of a jerk puts that kind of bumper sticker on such a classy automobile?” Probably has pink flamingo lawn ornaments in their garden, too. Some people have no taste.
A flock of geese fly overhead. Geese droppings fall onto her freshly washed car. Betty thinks to herself, “It's bad enough that I have to drive this old bucket of bolts and now it's stained with geese _ _ _ _.”
Traffic continues to creep along. Betty sees a billboard with the message, “That ‘Love thy neighbor business’…. I meant it. GOD.” Jane recalls an incident at work where a coworker complained constantly about having to work overtime and their president who made an obscene salary. Betty agreed. The president ought to go to the store and buy groceries. She probably didn’t have any idea what a pound of hamburger cost. She probably didn’t even know what hamburger tasted like. What a b_ _ _ _. Instead of making all that money, the president ought to hire some more people so they didn’t have to work so hard.
The sun was now directly in Betty’s eyes as she rounded the bend in the highway. Betty cursed at the sun. That blue sky only seemed to make the sun brighter and hotter. Betty had planned to have hamburgers on the grill. She hoped her roommate would remember to get the grill going. She’d said something about eating outside. No way. Not in this heat and with the bugs and mosquitoes. Traffic was beginning to break up and regain speed. Betty had realized that she had gone only 3 miles in the last 30 minutes, but she would be home within the next fifteen minutes. Not nearly soon enough. Life sucked.
Which of these two people do you more closely resemble?
Which of these two people would you hire?
Which of these two people would you prefer to work with?
Your education has moved you into a new position of possibilities. What about your attitude? Is it ready to meet the possibilities as well? Is your attitude one of, “If only...” or is your attitude one of, “I am blessed beyond what I know!”
Betty has a scarcity-mentality. She is a victim. From her point of view, the world owes her.
Jane has a law-of-abundance-mentality. From her point of view, she owes the world a debt of thanks.
The world needs more Janes and fewer Bettys. How will you show up to the next part of your life?