Two noteworthy occurrences in one day often have a connection. Hmmm.
I was reading a blog a few days ago at This could get ugly and it set my mind on its gerbil wheel. I believe that we can do the wrong things for the right reasons. And, of course, we can do the right things for wrong reasons. And sometimes, as in Kat’s case, what we judge as “wrong” is exactly the right thing for us to do at the time and it works out beautifully.
That got me thinking about the times I do the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. Arrrrgghhh! I’m hating the flashbacks that come with that. Those memories are in living color. Specifically, I’ll cop to the times I have not kept my word.
Which brings me to the second biggie in my day: some people went back on their word and it was costly for me. On the thinking wheel it didn’t take long for my focus to zero in on paybacks.
The older I get the more I try to be honest and do what I say I will do. Sometimes I forgot, sometimes I haven’t realized that an offhand comment was a commitment and that it was taken seriously. Maybe these come under the heading of “thoughtless” which is a subject for another day.
But there are the times I have skated out from under…willfully! I have copped out on engagements with trumped up excuses. I have missed an event after an RSVP that I would attend. I have put an item on hold and not returned or called back to release the item. My list is long, my repentance is genuine and my struggle to modify my behavior is successful most of the time.
But I carry this memory of a man in Beijing clutching a parcel…
I went to China recently to visit my granddaughter, but I had a secondary mission. I wanted to find a very special statue of the Chinese bodhisattva, Quan Yin. Although I didn’t have a particular statue in mind, I knew that she would make the perfect souvenir and that I would enjoy her for years to come. The search carried me to an “Antique” market with city blocks of stalls filled with statuary. Like any market there were duplications, mass produced schlock and seemingly priceless items. After wandering back and forth I had chosen two or three favorites but none were of Quan Yin. I knew what I REALLY wanted but understood that I might not find it. I vacillated between just choosing something I loved and waiting for the perfect one.
There was one beautiful and unusual piece that I truly loved. It had some drawbacks: its size, weight, and price. Most of all, it wasn’t Quan Yin and I could neither carry nor afford two statues. My career was in sales so I know the drill. If I show interest in an item, I’m going to get some attention. The vendor quoted an outrageous price and the game was on. Soon, however, my daughter-in-law had negotiated a fair price and the decision was mine to make. I stuttered, I stammered, I muttered about money. I’m familiar with my buying habits. Unless I can make a quick decision that is sure and strong, I shouldn’t buy. But I hesitated long enough that the vendor pointed me to the ATM and I walked toward it, still pondering.
Salvation. I realized that I couldn’t get enough money from the ATM in one day to pay. I went back and told him that, prepared to let him down easily but to leave without the statue. He had wrapped it and was ready to hand it to me but we were able to make him understand that I couldn’t buy that day. “Tomorrow?” he asked. I knew in my heart that he thought I would be back the next day. I wasn’t clear in my refusal. So I left with mixed feelings and spent a night tossing and turning. At last I made a clear decision. I intended to return and tell him that I was not going to purchase the statue. I intended…
So here’s the real deal: Whenever I get too judgmental and vociferous about the wrongdoing of others, I am brought up short with a clear memory or, worse yet, I do something new that appears to be the same, even if it isn’t.
So the people who cost me money…? Oh, well. Louise got me. I have my assignment: be clear in my communication and always keep trying to do the right thing and do it for the right reasons.