Sunday, August 02, 2009

White and Fluffy

Mom smiled when I told her the same story I told you yesterday. It had been lovely to have her visit. She is (mostly) a quiet, loving presence and I enjoy having her in my space. We were having dinner at a Chinese place we'd been meaning to try as I ranted over the way we treated each other at work.

"I worked for a man named Don when I was younger," she remembered, wrinkling her nose over a piece of shrimp in her fried rice. She carefully removed it from her plate and placed it on mine before continuing. "People would go in all the time and scream at him. I could hear them even though the door was closed. And I'd peek in the window next to his door and he'd be sitting back in his chair, arms at his sides and nodding as he listened. He never got angry. Never really reacted at all."

She took a sip of water, remarked that the food was quite good, and continued. "I went in after one of them left and asked how he stayed so calm. It made me angry that people talked to him like that and I didn't understand how he could just take it. And he had me sit down and said he pictured himself on a cloud. He was high enough in the sky that people looked like little specks. And he pictured some specks beginning to turn red and get agitated, sort of hopping around angrily, and it was vaguely amusing to him. But he hoped that after they hopped around in his office for a while, they'd turn a normal color again and begin moving in their normal speck patterns. And it helped him not take it personally."

I thought about it for a moment, chewing a piece of broccoli, and nodded. "I wish I had a cloud," I said and she smiled and rubbed my shoulder.

"You'll learn," she predicted. "You like and respect these people. You want to do the right thing. You just need to find a way to contribute without it taking so much from you. And," she added, "your dad and I are very proud of you."

"I know," I smiled at her and captured another piece of shrimp I saw on her plate.

I received a package yesterday. A colleague and I were talking a week or so ago and he asked if he could send me a book. I think I'd been yelling at him, so I grinned and asked if it was a book that would curse me.

"No," he laughed. "It's something I read that helped me cope with all of this. And I like you and I want you to do well." So I opened the package from amazon, pulling the little tab that allowed me inside the cardboard and turned the book over to read the cover. I curled up today to read Lead Like Jesus and began to nod and relax into the concept.

I've no doubt it will take considerable work, but I may have found my cloud.

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