So What’s So Good About You?

30 09 2013

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” C.S. Lewis, Mere ChristianityImage

As I’ve stated in earlier writings, I pretty much lost interest in school by my sophomore year, going through the motions mostly of attending classes (sometimes) just to get it over with and have it behind me.  I associated with few from school having found a group that suited my life better, most being older and musicians, of course.  However, I did work a part-time job that employed mostly teenagers so I guess that was my connection to still being an adolescent. This group of kids was nice and even enjoyable to be around.  We would cut up a lot at work and everyone got along well.  Maybe what drew me to the crowd I suppose was they all were a lot like me, each had their own little personality quirk that seemed to make them a type of outcast from the typical teenage camaraderie that develops in high school.  Some were teased or bullied nearly everyday they stepped into a classroom; but here everyone was the same and ones who usually kept their guard on high alert could relax and just be who they were.  The job dealt with customer service so it was inevitable that occasionally one of my coworkers’ tormenters would come in. This would make an uneasy situation; here they put up with someone’s guff all day only to have them show up at one of the few places my friends found refuge.  When this happened, we developed a code to let one of the other workers know a “bogey” had come in and they were needed to take their order so the other could just avoid them.  It all seemed to work out well and occasionally we’d go out after work in a group just to hang out.  I didn’t go often generally because I had something else going on, but when I did the time spent was enjoyable.  I know they had some personality issues, but they were a lot a fun to be with.  They were different from so many others in school; they didn’t look down on others or put on any airs.  At least that’s how I saw them until one day with the arrival of a new employee.

Vicky was an attractive girl with a radiant smile, highly intelligent and a bubbly personality.  I had known her in grade school days but hadn’t seen her in years and really didn’t have an opinion about her.  Two girls that worked with me however, took issue with her being there right from the start.  “Oh great, we got one them here now!  She hangs with that uppity group from school who always look down on others; we sure don’t need her here!”  Since these two felt so strongly about Vicky everyone else followed suit, (Yours truly also I confess).  If we gave her a hard enough time maybe she would see what the rest went through and take the hint and go back to her snooty friends.  So the fix was in, if Vicky asked a question she would be given the wrong information or none at all.  If she made a mistake while learning the job, she would be chewed big time especially by the two who instigated the foul treatment toward her.  She made attempts to get along, but no was returning the niceness.  I didn’t go out of the way to treat her bad, but because everyone felt so strongly about her I didn’t offer any words of help or encouragement either.  She remembered me from our childhood and tried to use that as a way to draw me in as an ally, but I just wouldn’t have it.  “Sure Vicky,” I thought, “You need me to be your friend here because no one likes you, but I you wouldn’t speak one friendly word to me outside of here; no thanks, you’re on your own.”  Time went on and sometimes the remarks to Vicky could be quite rude, and I started to get just a little offended for her, but still I said nothing.  After all, she had it coming for how she treated others, right?

We had a storage room at work where supplies were kept and each of us took turns bringing things up front to be used.  “John,” the shift supervisor said one day; “Go see what happened to Vicky, I sent her for goods 10 minutes ago and she hasn’t returned yet.”  The door to the storage room was open but the lights were off.  Giving them a flick on I headed in to retrieve what was needed out front, until I heard a small shaky voice. “John, do you have a tissue?”  It was Vicky sitting on a box in the corner and she had been crying quite hard I could tell.  “Vicky, what’s wrong?” I asked.  “I can’t do anything right,” she responded.  “All I do is make people here angry, I don’t understand what most of you are doing and I feel stupid.  I need this job to help mom buy a car, but it’s not working out.”  It was then I found that Vicky was raised by a single mother just as I was and they had to struggle to watch every dime they spent.  How’s that for a sudden wake up call to who this girl actually was!  “I don’t understand what I was supposed to get and I started crying, but didn’t want anyone to see me this way.  If you could please get me a tissue I’d like to wipe my face, then I’m going to leave.”  “Okay hotshot,” I thought. “You got what you wanted, Vicky got a taste of her own medicine, happy now?!!”  I busted open a carton of napkins and handed her several.  When she cleaned up, I said “Now here are the things you need to take up front, go ahead and I’ll be right behind you.”  When we reentered the front area of the store I didn’t give anyone a chance to say a word, I went right to explaining how things worked and what she was to do.  Got a lot of quick looks, but no words were spoken.  When our shift was complete, I called an impromptu meeting in the back room.  Everyone, I’d like you to meet Vicky.”  I got several questionable looks from people including Vicky when I started not knowing where I was going.  “We’ve known each other since we were little kids; she’s bright, witty, funny, a hard worker and most of all,” and I paused there for a good moment; “She’s my friend, and we’re going to do everything possible to make her a part of the team.”  I don’t know, but my little speech seemed to be an icebreaker, a chance for some of the others to start over also.  Perhaps they saw something in themselves like I did that they didn’t like and just wanted to stop the hostility.  Vicky did become a part of the team and more a friend to everyone there who wanted to be hers.  Yes, she ran with a higher group of people (for lack of a better term here), but that didn’t mean she felt she was better than the rest of us.  She even went out a few times in our little group and had a wonderful time as did everyone!

Alright gang, let’s get right to it, some of you, I’m sure, are saying, “Okay Miller, so Vicky was a nice girl even though she hung with the snootys, but she’s probably the exception to the rule, you know most of those social types thought they were better than everyone else.”  Well, quite frankly, no I don’t know that either.  I can see how someone acts in a group, but that doesn’t necessarily define who they are anymore than it does you or me for we all have been guilty of doing the same thing to a certain degree;  case in point, today’s story.  We can all look at others and see something that is wrong, but the real questions comes down to then what is it that you’re doing so right?  Scenarios like Vicky’s taught me a lot about who I am and how I was just as judgmental as the ones I criticized.  When I chose to call myself a Christian, my eyes were really opened up to everyone around me.  It doesn’t matter what I thought of them they were loved just as much by the Father as I am.  This seems to be very important to God for it’s a key topic in His Word.  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ sake has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).  That’s just one of many all through the New Testament, not reacting to someone in the same manner they reacted to you, but as God would want you to react, with love, patience, mercy; the same attributes He gives us in Christ.

Vicky, myself and a number of others “Travelers of the Rock Road” learned a lot that year who we were to ourselves and to each other; it showed us we weren’t really that different, we just needed to take the time to get to truly know each other.  For me it was not to look down on anyone, I needed to look straight ahead to see a person, a friend; and I need to look up to see my Lord, my Teacher of life, my Savior.  To think what I might have missed out on; lets face it, everyone of you, no matter who you are, are just plain awesome!  Not because I say it, but my Lord does; and if you’re okay with Him, you’re okay with this man!

Thanks for reading!!!





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