Friday, June 14, 2013

Everyone Has a Message



Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~ Leo Buscaglia

I was the employment counselor for a lot of years in the public employment office. My office was a dumping ground for anyone who was “not appropriate” to be sent on a job interview.

 Sleeping in an abandoned building, just fired from a job washing dishes, a young man was delivered to my doorstep. He was distraught, twice institutionalized at the state mental hospital and fearful that he was on the way to returning. He spoke and I listened to his tale of woe. He was surprisingly articulate. What was very clear was that he was on the wrong path. I told him so and suggested that he would never be successful unless he made some changes. Over an hour pasted before he went on his way. I am sure he thanked me for listening. Most of the people who came to me were far less than ideal job candidates. For most, my goal was for a healing, therapeutic conversation, or perhaps just the experience of someone willing to hear their words. 

On the opposite side of the isle, twice a year I was sent to man a booth at the local college on job fair day. It was 5 minutes from my home. I did not have to arrive until 9am and finished at 3pm. They fed me lunch. I networked with the other service providers and met employer representatives. Best of all, I spoke with aspiring college students all day.  An exceptionally spiffy young man came to my booth, called me by name and thanked me. I told him he was welcome, but I had no idea who he was or why he was thanking me. He told me he was graduating as an honor student in accounting. He had been extended several job offers at the job fair and, it was because of me. I told him, I did not remember taking tests for him and assured him that he earned whatever he was receiving. Again, I asked him who he was. Four years earlier, I told him he was so pathetically poor he could probably apply for tuition aid at the local college and at least get a bed in which to sleep. I told him he would never be successful as a dishwasher because it was clearly below his potential and he needed a serious goal.  Yup, same young man and he did it! 

Wow, what a gift to me.  So many people cross our paths and so few come back to tell us after they have found success. Interesting, once he was on a viable path he was able to work washing dishes to make ends meet, no longer trapped in a dead end job. His “one time” counselor also learned valuable lessons, to keep the faith, show compassion, do our best and trust that the universe will unfold in a meaningful way! 

I don't think that anything happens by coincidence... No one is here by accident... Everyone who crosses our path has a message for us. Otherwise they would have taken another path, or left earlier or later. The fact that these people are here means that they are here for some reason...   ~  James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy

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