Monday, November 15, 2010

Off Topic Monday-Life Lessons

As many of my long time readers know I base my posts on questions I get from readers and students, projects I am working on, or conferences I have gone to. I am a very experiential writer. I use the term writer very I write just like I talk.

Over the last week, I haven't been asked any great questions, no conferences were attended and my projects are moving right along.

But, I have had some life experiences this week, which I do think are important. So, I will share those.

My 85 year old grandmother fell and broke her foot. She is confined to a wheelchair for 6 weeks. Where most of us, would be mad and frustrated, she is continuously looking for work arounds and ways to go about her normal life. Her main concern has been how she would get to Church. The lesson here for me is "in the face of adversity, keep going, be creative and have an awesome attitude."

One of my dear "bestest" friend's mother has lung cancer. She is in her final days. I have gone over to their house where Kathy has decided to spend her final days. She is surrounded by love and kindness. Her friends and family are sharing wonderful stories on how Kathy has impacted their lives in a positive manner. She is a strong woman who is showing that strength up until the last day of her life. The lesson here for me, "live my life so that in my final days, people share stories of how I affected their lives."

And finally, I have a story that gets to me every year. Our company has organized donations for the last 3 years for the homeless here in Atlanta, through the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency (formerly Samaritan House of Atlanta). Each year, at this time, we send out emails to our contact list to ask for scarves, hats, gloves, toiletries, and underwear for 250 of Atlanta's homeless. We stuff 250 bags so that each client will have a Christmas gift. Each year, especially the last few, I think we may not make our big 250 bag goal. And every year, I have been proven wrong. I sent the email last week, and I had a donation of 100 men's boxers, 50 men's hats, and several checks to buy what we need. Every year, I receive these and I just sit in my office overwhelmed and grateful for the kindness. The lesson for me, "people are kind and they care about others, even in difficult times."

Sometimes, it is important to get off topic, and look for lessons in our everyday lives. I know these spill over to our work lives, if we pay attention when they happen. I know I don't do this enough, last week, was just one of those extraordinary weeks, where it couldn't really be helped. I would have to be in a coma not to notice...


Michael D. Haberman, SPHR said...

Great post Cathy. We would all be better off if we retained the lessons that life teaches us on a daily basis. Sometimes we just don't pay attention. Thanks for reminding me I need to pay attention.

Kimberly Douglas said...

Thanks for going "off topic", Cathy, and helping us to all slow down and appreciate the life's lessons around each of us. Great job!
Kimberly Douglas

Paula Pope said...

Well said and these stories speak to what is really important in life. Trouble is many people don't stop long enough to realize this.

Unknown said...

Hi Kimberly, Michael and Paula:

I wasn't sure when I was writing this post early this morning. Thanks for the confirmation that you really do need to stop and learn form just what is going on around you. I have been thinking and I singles out last week, but there are many other weeks I have had lately that are similar to the one I just described. Maybe that is what happens in your start understanding what matters most in life....

Thank you for reading!