Undoing The Doing And Undoing The Rebuff
Life is full of lessons to be learned.
Did you ever think you were doing something worthwhile to help others, and then found your efforts held of little value? It can sometimes leave a lasting lesson.
My wife had two such experiences she has long since forgotten, and why I am hanging onto the memory of them I will leave to you to consider:
She had a catering and sewing business in Falls Church, Virginia called “Stitch ‘n’ Thyme” and in the course of that business she had a sewing client who brought a piece of fine material to have a specific dress tailored for her from the material. After carefully defining the end result and having both a first and a final fitting, the dress was ready to be picked up, only to have the client proclaim that the material had been “ruined” and she didn’t want to pay! She was told there would be no charge for the hours of invested work. She took the dress and that was supposedly the end of it, until several months later my wife happened to be in Pennsylvania at a formal banquet related to her new work with refugees as a field worker for the International Rescue Committee. The “Stitch ‘n’ Thyme client also attended the banquet wearing the very same, dress , without any alterations, which Manolie and one of her employees had hand sewn for her! She looked, and apparently felt, splendid in the “ruined” material and dress.
The second experience occurred after we moved to Utah. [Keep in mind that while still in Falls Church Manolie’s “Stitch ’n’ Thyme" had catered sit down Italian wedding receptions to the praise of knowledgeable Italian families and diplomats in the Georgetown section of the District of Columbia.] In Utah at a church supper she was laying lasagna strips for the featured dish of the evening and a woman seeing Manolie, an Asian, laying lasagna strips, abruptly took her by the arm saying “You probably don’t know much about laying lasagna strips. Your help is needed over here doing the dishes.” Manolie did a good job of that, too.
I will add a similar experience of my own. My Dad always had a fine vegetable garden. One day I saw him weeding between rows of corn, so I grabbed another hoe and worked weeding other rows until we met in the middle of the corn patch. Dad thanked me and I watched as he continued to weed the very rows I had just capably weeded in an effort to help him! I understood that it was an act of “possession” of Dad staking his claim that the whole garden was his own, but it caused me to decide that I was perfectly willing that it should be. Later, in his late 80’s, “his garden” needed weeding which would have been difficult for him to keep up with. I was home for a short visit and unbidden I took a hoe and weeded the whole garden in a relatively short period. Dad thanked me with these words: “You did a fine job. It would have taken me hours to do what your just did.” It was finally okay for me to share some labors helping in “his garden.”
No one likes to have good efforts, well intended, rebuffed for any reason, valid or not. And, as hard as it is, we need to chalk those occasions up to “life” and not let them affect our own view of the individual or the world…as hard as those occasions may be to dismiss and move on from. They may be there for our learning and experience, for we will be called on later perhaps to forgive much more serious offenses.
© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.