Where This Meets That
“I waited patiently for the Lord. He inclined and heard my cry. He lifted me up out of the pit, out of the miry clay.” – U2’s song “40”
Tomorrow, I turn 40.
It’s the age my father was when I learned to walk. It’s the age when Mark Twain published Tom Sawyer, Colonel Sanders first started selling chicken, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta started Missionaries of Charity, and Muhammad first saw visions.
That’s five, but it’s not the five for this week. Instead, I want to highlight five life quotes that I have picked up over my 40 years and have really resonated with me.
1) From my Dad: “If you’re gonna choose to be a failure, don’t get mad when people choose to talk about it!”
I was never a very good student, growing up. Oh, sure, I was brilliant (sorry, I’ve always been my own biggest fan), but I was equally disinterested.
I’ve always been more a dreamer than a doer, more a surrealist than a realist. When school “reality” would brand me with grades like C’s and D’s, I pretended not to care, but I would get very upset with my Mom when she would discuss my poor grades with her friends.
With the admonition quoted above, my Dad crushed that sentiment, saying failure is a choice, and if I don’t want to hear people talking about my failures then I shouldn’t choose to fail.
2) From my high school football coach: “If you’re going to make a mistake, make it full-speed!”
I see your wheels turning now . . . OK, so Falcone’s telling me that if I’m going to choose to fail, and people are going to talk about it anyway, then I might as well fail BIG!
But that’s not the lesson here.
When I played (well, practiced) football, my coach would get angry if a player blocked the wrong man, but he would lose his mind if a player just stood there not knowing whom to block. His message was that action is always preferable to inaction.
3) From my store manager at Ingles Grocery: “Your customers don’t give a [cuss] what you were doing at the swimming pool!”
This is “Customer Service 101,” a course that most service employees today still need to take.
When I worked my second job, as cashier at Ingles Grocery, I developed a bad habit of small-talking with my co-workers while ringing up my customers. My manager expertly corrected that, and I am so thankful.
When you’re serving a customer, be it at the grocery, the department store, or anywhere else in life, be with that customer. No, the customer doesn’t like to be ignored. And no, he doesn’t care about your “behind the scenes” camaraderie or controversies, either. He wants to be greeted, gauged for pleasant conversation, and if he’s open to talk, he wants to talk first about his own life.
For every one to two minute encounter, you hold the power to make your customer feel comfortable. It’s a short interaction but potentially potent and a method that has earned me job offers on the spot. Plus, it’s just right.
4) From a stranger in the halls at work: “If I’d have known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself!”
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s brilliantly stated. A lifestyle is an investment and one I have worked hard to improve upon over the past sixteen months.
5) From Jesus: “Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34)
Now there you go again . . . OK, so Falcone’s saying live for today but with tomorrow in mind?
Sort of, but more like, if you live today as you should then the rest will take care of itself. Today is all you ever have to get through. As Jesus also asked, who has ever added days to their lives by worrying about tomorrow?
And that’s a good place to leave off, since tomorrow, I turn 40.
Forty is not what it used to be. If I play my cards right, and the Good Lord wills it, I still have a whole lifetime ahead of me, maybe more. And I don’t have to spend half of the next one trying to find my future, for all my blessings of today.
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Have a Wonderful Weekend, Everyone!!!