As many of you know, for the past three months I have been involved in a project that enabled me to see up close and personal a part of life that was foreign to me. While there was always a “means to an end” regarding this journey, I still found it uncomfortable and depressing. There was the girl who seemed to be eating herself to a literal death because her life just wasn’t much fun. Then there was the woman working as a night janitor, whose physical appearance was almost ghoulish with the overdone makeup, bad wigs, and lack of teeth. And the obnoxious behavior wasn’t just with the individuals who lacked a formal education. There was the girl who took delight in telling me how challenging it was for her to earn a master’s degree, totally ignorant of the fact that I was marking the 25th anniversary of having my MBA. She sounded so pathetic trying to make herself seem better than she was. And the most disappointing was the man who claimed to be a big wig in the corporate world. He remarked everyday about my amazing credentials (his words, not mine) and how he had “many management opportunities that he would extend me” (again, his words); however, over time it was clear his words were actual lies and he disappeared with not so much as a return phone call regarding his many “promises.”
Yes, it was quite a quarter-of-a-year and at times, it was excruciating. Talk about watching paint dry, and for this athlete, it felt unbearable at times.
So what did I learn from this experiment? Well right at the top of the list would be that I have been exorbitantly blessed to have lived the kind of life I have. This experience certainly helped me see that there is no substitute for a good education and the doors it should open. However, it also helped me see that everyone wants to be recognized, whether merited or not, and that most everybody exhibits a degree of unhappiness, discomfort and sadness, even when they try hard to cover it up with bravado and arrogance.
I’m thankful that period of my life is over but I do walk away grateful for the few people who made the experiment less painful, like the attorney whose sophistication and style was trumped only by her kindness, and the lovely older lady who had been with the same employer for nearly 40 years, still full of style and grace as she neared an unwanted yet inevitable retirement.
I love how in life you never stop learning, and for me (a person who loves to learn), that provides the desire to keep on seeking and serving.
As we near the most important day in the life of Christ’s true converts, I hope you take the lessons I’ve learned of late to heart. While many people turn to food, bragging rights, and even lying as a means to make themselves feel better about who and what they are, don’t dislike or even feel sorry for them: simply point them to the Savior – Jesus Christ the Lord. His magnificence renders us all silent.
Many great things to look forward to: my birthday celebration, the French Open (let’s break that tie Serena), the NFL draft, and travels galore.
Keep on running and I’ll see you out there!