Build Your Leaders

Archive for July, 2011

I Do It Too

July 22nd, 2011

Finding compassion. Extraordinary moments pop up at ordinary times when we pay attention. My friend David was standing in line at the supermarket when an impatient woman broke in line and demanded the cashier check her out. “I only have one item,” she barked. The young cashier politely explained she was serving another customer. Exasperated, the woman broke into another line.

David looked at the cashier, rolled his eyes, and said, “She must have been in some hurry.” The cashier opened her mouth to reply, then paused and thought better of it. She took a deep breath and said, “I do it, too.”

I do it, too, thought David. What a wonderful response. Instead of judging the impatient woman, the cashier found empathy.

“All through the day, whenever I got put out with someone, I thought, ‘I do it, too,’” David told me. “Whether I was in line, in traffic, or dealing with a rude coworker, I remembered, ‘I do it, too.’ What a gift that cashier gave me,” David said. “And I would have missed it, if I wasn’t paying attention.”

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July 8th, 2011

Absorbing times of intense beauty. It was so beautiful that if it was a painting it would have been on velvet. My friend David and I were watching the sun set over Washington, D.C., from a stone-clad tower at the National Cathedral. The bright tangerine rays backlit the clouds in such a way that the entire scene looked surreal, much like a painting on velvet. In silence we watched as the bright orange ball descended into the horizon, cloaking Washington in darkness.

When I am around such beauty it almost seems more than I can handle. I find myself wanting to fast forward through the experience. Weeks later, I mentioned this to another friend, who quoted a line from the award-winning film American Beauty.  Kevin Spacey’s character, Lester Burnham, delivers it:

“But it’s hard to stay mad when there is so much beauty in the world.  Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much.  My heart fills up like a balloon that is about to burst and then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I am talking about. I am sure. But don’t you worry, you will some day.”

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