Friday, April 6, 2018

In Passing

Just a couple of words, but so much happens in the midst of them. 

Things happen 'in passing' all the time. Miniature conversations, little mentions of events or people, coincidental meetings. But those connections are what make the world go around. 

Sure, we have plans. On the surface, it looks like my life is chaotic, but it's very organized in actuality. I have a day planner and a white board. If it's not in the day planner or on the white board, I will not remember it because I have so many things going on. Between a toddler, a college student, two other adult children, a husband who works and goes to school, and my own main job plus freelance jobs... and don't forget extended family, play dates, being on the board of a non-profit organization, and my theatre connections... there are times I need to schedule potty breaks. For myself.

But the thing that fascinates me the most is what happens 'in passing'. On my way to the post office, I will bump into an old friend in the parking lot and catch up. In the three minute conversation, I will have several moments of the overwhelming feeling that they needed me there at that very moment for some reason, whether or not it is apparent. While waiting for a dental appointment, someone else will leave the office and see me there -- a person I don't even know, but they know me from being on stage in a performance a few years back. A short chat will ensue, in which they tell me about their recently deceased husband, and I get a chance to comfort them. 

Then, things happen later. Pieces fall into place here and there. I get the sense that it wasn't by accident. That person calls me up the next day. "You don't know how much I needed to hear what you had to say yesterday," they might say. I don't even remember what I said that might have made an impression on them, but I roll with it. 

Because, you see, it's not my words that make a difference. It's something, or more specifically, Someone, speaking through me. Definitely not all the time. I'm the first to admit I have a hard time controlling my tongue. I say things I shouldn't constantly. Believe me, when you have a toddler that repeats everything, you notice really quickly what you sound like to other people! 

I worked a horrible, horrible job for a horrible, horrible boss for awhile and it was during that time that I realized just what I wanted my legacy to be. The ONE good thing this horrible, horrible boss did was to sit us all down at a table and have us write what we would want said about us in a eulogy one day. While everyone else at the table spoke of work aspirations and things they'd like to achieve, I felt confident in what I had written in bold pen: God's words through her changed my life.

I quit the job shortly thereafter because I could not grow in that toxic atmosphere into the person my heart yearned to be.

I remembered telling my horrible, horrible boss in passing during a particular confrontation that my priorities were, and always would remain, God first, Family second, and Career at a distant third. Later, I meditated on what I had said in passing -- and realized that those weren't my words, either, but they were most definitely the words I would live by for the rest of my life.

Nothing we say, nothing we do, nothing we impart to others, should ever be thought of as unimportant. Whether it's on purpose or in passing, it matters. WE matter. The person you are and the person you're talking to. The person who overhears you, who goes back home and changes their life because of what they heard you say to someone else. You don't need to rehearse. Be yourself ... but be mindful that it all matters.

"Everything counts in large amounts." -- Depeche Mode

--Stephanie Jean