Thursday, 28 February 2013

Thinking Out Loud

“I’m just a waitress.” She said.

“Really.” The customer replied.

She had a bit of a cheerless expression when she said, “Yeah. I just serve food.”

He smiled, “Do you really know what you do?” She cocked her head to the side and her brows furrowed. “You’re a pretty important person. You provide a service so people can get away from their homes after a long day of working when they’re too tired or distracted to provide for themselves. So, instead of making Mac and Cheese, they come to see you to get a healthy meal, a break from having to take care of themselves and for them feel important and special for a little while.” He continued to smile. “That seems pretty important to me.”

She smiled and responded, “I never thought of it that way before.” She turned to leave the table with a bit of a skip in her step.

I had a thought.

More than anything else, we are what we think. Two things came from the conversation I had with the waitress that day. Firstly, how we view other people and their roles in the societal fabric can make their day or bring them down. Further, how we think of them says more about us than it does about them. More importantly though, how we view ourselves determines how we feel as we make our way through life.

The words I use to describe myself determines who I am. If I use phrases like “I'm just this” or “I'm only that”, I will always feel inferior. Worse, if I berate myself and call myself a "screw up" or an "idiot" or "stupid", I am only being derogatory to me. Those who really care about me and see me for who I am wouldn't agree. No-one else matters.

There are enough people in the world willing to put us down without doing it to ourself.

We need people in all roles to keep our society moving along. The ditch digger who keeps the water out of our basements so we aren’t assaulted by stagnant, infected water is as important as the engineer who designed the ditch in the first place. That ditch digger who keeps disease away is as important to our health as the doctor who gives us our annual check-up.

We are stuck with a useless plan or idea without people to carry out the tasks to create those plans and ideas.

Each of us is as important to the fabric of our society as any other person. How we think about what we do is significant. If I see the big picture and realise I am providing someone with a service they are unable to perform themselves, then I will feel more important and necessary.

Sometimes, though, it’s fitting to remind people of their importance. It’s never a bad time to lift someone’s spirits by pointing out the implications of the service they provide. The waitress and the cook and the restaurant owner and the dishwasher and the busboy all give me an outlet to get away from my world. They provide an opportunity for me, the customer, to feel special. Our lives would be significantly different if we had to “do it all” ourselves all of the time.

It's important to recognise our roles go much farther than what we see on the surface.

It wasn’t lost on me either that I received some pretty good service that night as I enjoyed my meal.