Carve On

14 06 2015

Last week I had dinner at a family style restaurant, the type that after you eat you go up to the counter and pay for your Rock _nmeal. On this day, I had to wait for moment before paying due to a little drama being played out at that moment. Seems this elderly gentleman had called in a take-out order and was making an issue with the girl behind the counter. He never raised his voice or got ugly but he wanted to let her know that because she was in such a hurry to get him off the phone she did not listen to his entire order and hung up before he was done. “Oh no,” she argued, I heard everything you said clearly and made sure it was ready.” “Well then, there were special but simple instructions on one of the dinners, tell me what they were,” the man countered. She stared at him for a moment, then hung her head: “You’re right and I don’t know. I’m sorry and I promise it will never happen again.” I half expected this guy to tear into her or ask for the manager. Instead a gentle smile came across his face and his words were gracious. “I know how hectic restaurant business can be, I used to own one. But when dealing with anyone, you have to treat them like they’re the most important thing you have to do, that’s just consideration, that’s good customer service.” The girl nodded in agreement but continued to look down as she took his money to pay for the order. When she finished and handed him his change he handed back to her a sizable and generous tip. “Here, let’s use this as a better reminder of what you need to do from now on; after all the next person may not be as lovable as me.” Now the girl looked up and gave him a big beautiful smile, “Thank you so much sir, I will next time I promise!” Now I was smiling and continued to do so all the way out to the car, not only for the kindness I had just witnessed, but for the memory that was flooding my mind of a moment where I almost wasn’t as kind as this gentleman.

It was Christmas and the kids were all preteens. We had just finished opening all the presents when a revelation occurred, most of the gifts we gave the children needed batteries, something we totally forgot to buy. So I had to head out into the cold to find someplace open to buy what was needed. Needless to say I wasn’t in the best of moods when I pulled into the only convenience store I could find that had any. It didn’t help my disposition any when I saw the crowd and there was only one girl working checkout, and she seemed to be having her own problems. The cash register she was using messed up so she had to have everyone move to a new line, then she inadvertently charged the wrong customer for a gas purchase. Finally while bagging up some items, she dropped something that broke and made a mess. “Oh for Pete’s sake,” I thought, “Where did they get this kid!” I wasn’t angry, but I sure was impatient, “Come on, let me pay for these batteries and get out of this nut house,” I whispered to myself. The person right in front of me wasn’t as quiet; finally reaching the counter he let her have it with both barrels yelling how her incompetence at doing a simple minded job was ridiculous. He made a few other uncalled for comments before he left, but I was no longer paying attention to him, I was now seeing the girl for what seemed like the first time. Her face was red and her eyes now glassy as she fought back the tears, this child couldn’t have been more than 20 years old. “Hey beautiful, you okay?” With all the strength she could muster to keep from crying, she got the words out, “I’m sorry, but I’m doing the best I can. I just started recently and they scheduled me for today by myself. I’d like to be home like everyone else with my little girl, but I need the money.” Reaching in my coat pocket I pulled out a 4oz jar candle, something I make, and said “Merry Christmas!” That brought a smile and a heartfelt “Thank you!” I then followed up with “Now listen to me, relax and concentrate only on the person who’s in front of you. Take care of their need and then move on the next. If you start to feel overwhelmed remove the lid from the candle and take a good whiff, it’ll help relax you and get you through the rest of the day. Don’t worry what anyone else thinks, you’re doing great.” It surprised me a little when I heard a couple of voices behind me say, “That’s right, you’re doing fine.” I had almost forgotten there were other people listening to us.

These are two examples of how to approach someone who needs correcting or help without tearing that individual down. It’s unfortunate for me to say that as a youngster, I had a person in my life that seemed to enjoy ridiculing me excessively when I made mistakes; I’ve even seen ones in positions of leadership with this hateful demeanor. During the years I worked with troubled youth, I’d find the hard core kids would be ones that came from similar backgrounds where they seldom heard words of encouragement.

Mother Teresa said “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

During times of leading or instructing others, I have had to work hard to ensure that I am presenting myself and the material I wish to teach with a non-threatened approach; in other words if you don’t understand what I’m saying then we’ll keep working to find a way to make it comprehensible. And if a mistake is made, we’ll discuss it, correct it, and then move on.

I totally believe God does call on us to treat each other in a manor we wish to be treated. I read just yesterday, “No matter how educated, talented, rich, or cool you believe you are, how you treat people tells all. Integrity is everything.” Of course there’s this “Book” I’m rather fond of that has good advice on this subject.  Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”  And of course, Philippians 2:3-5 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

As a buddy of mine would say, “Don’t knock it until you try it!” My point today is an easy one and actually one that it seems everyone talks about, but we all still miss the mark at times treating others with compassion, understanding and love. And as each of us continue our “Travels on the Rock Road,” it’s just as important what we leave behind us as what still lays ahead.

I believe Charles Spurgeon said it best like this, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”

Carve on, my dear Friends and Family, Carve on!

See ya next time!!




2 responses

16 06 2015
Gary Austin

Got any of those candles? Gary

16 06 2015

I’ll bring you one, Brother.

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