Sunday, April 27, 2014

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle

This past week spun through with a whirlwind of family, work, volunteer and social activities.  I survived while practicing patience, professionalism and kindness. 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” 

Attributed to a Scottish preacher and writer Ian Maclaren.  According to this Wikipedia article, it is often misattributed to Plato or Philo of Alexandria.   Regardless, it is a good maxim or axiom for anyone to follow. 

It was also one of the themes in the Noah film I saw on Easter Monday.  In addition to the reminder to take care of the creatures and not misuse earth's resources, the words had particular impact while emerging from the kissable lips of a ruggedly handsome actor.  


I digress.  

Continuing with the theme of kindness... 

My writing women friends met on Friday for our monthly gathering at our usual restaurant.  In addition to my late arrival thanks to a public transit snafu, I learned that the establishment had not renewed its liquor license after recent renovations.  To add insult to tardiness, I would not be able to join some of them in a toast with wine.  Instead, we made do with ice tea or water and carried on.  We made do.

In-between rare visits from our waitress, we took turns with the usual introductions, stating our recent accomplishments, future plans and to ask for help with challenging situations.  My OCD nature had to be quelled in that we were not able to complete the circle around the table due to interruptions and side conversations.  

One concern and distraction was the waitress's mood and (a-hem) service.  This became a topic of conversation while empathizing, offering possible reasons for the attitude and blunt treatment.  One guest later mentioned that while she returned from the restrooms, she overheard a loud conversation between our server and one of the young managers

We knew something was out of balance, was not quite right.  Most were forgiving of the ensuing service with attitude and carried on with the meal.  We continued to enjoy each other's company and practice the art of conversation

While paying my bill directly to the waitress, I asked her name, stating that in all the months that we had come to this restaurant, that we had not learned her name.  That seemed to soothe her a bit.  The generous tip may have too.  

Prior to leaving, I took the opportunity to speak with her alone, asking how things were going.  After her generic response of "Okay, okay", I asked again how things were going with her - and with work.  Her eyes watered as she expressed her frustration of being an older woman, working for some young thing who didn't respect her and that she wanted to discuss the matter with her but was brushed aside. Wow, she was expressing feelings similar to those of many friends and acquaintances. 

I offered words of hope that things improve, a hug of reassurance, and that we looked forward to seeing her next month.  She said thank you.  

Most people would not be that patient with or understanding of someone who provides poor service.  Some would not have the imagination to consider the surrounding circumstances or be empathetic (benign interpretation).   Some would complain to the management. Some would walk out, announcing their intentions to never return!

What would you do?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No longer a spring chicken

Well, Eastern Ontario was pelted with snow and ice pellets once again.

Half-way through April and Old Man Winter is still sticking around. I had to pull out my little boots and holey gloves.  

Many of us are ready for refreshing greens, spring flowers and a gentle breeze.  Give me colour, sunshine and hope. Of all seasons, I would like spring to linger - and not be rushed out by stifling summer heat and humidity.  I generate enough heat on my own, thank you very much!

I am no longer a spring chicken but I find it one of my favourite seasons.  It is a time to celebrate renewal and rebirth.  

As a former Catholic, I occasionally will read the bible, follow the Pope on Twitter and enjoy learning mythology from different cultures.  In particular, I really appreciate the one about Eostre, the Goddess of Spring. 

My drab workstation is already decorated with an Easter Egg Tree and eggs painted by a creative, former co-worker. 

These eggs were decorated almost 20 years ago and are still in good condition.  The act of putting those eggs on display has rekindled a spark, a desire for creativity.

Recently, I had one of the young folk dig a box out of the storage area because I knew that within that box was a protective case containing concept art I had done many years ago.

I created that Yin Yegg during a feverish winter cold in 1999.  It was during a time that I was learning about the art of Feng Shui, looking for ways to harmonize our then unhappy and cluttered home.  

It has been a while since I have painted or drawn.  Over the past few years, I have mainly illustrated with words in various blog posts, opinion articles and my bittersweet novel.  At least the latter is going through changes in preparation for the next print edition, with the help of a resident artiste

As we approach the Easter weekend, I will encourage my family to pause for reflection.  My offspring are too old for childlike craft activities so I doubt we will decorate any eggs.  I still like to look at ideas that others have come up with - especially those that use non-toxic materials and don't create waste. 

Pinterest is a great place for exploring decorating ideas, wardrobe collections and options for self adornment.  Being a low-maintenance gal, I think I'll create a board for cool summer blouses and comfortable shoes. 

Thanks for dropping by.

Happy Easter!