Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Nobody Else Can REALLY Fill Your Shoes
"Everyone has a unique role to play in the world and is important in some respect. Everyone, including and perhaps especially you, is indispensable." -Nathaniel Hawthorne
The above quote is one of my favorites, and it’s been on my mind for a few days now. I want you to read it more than once. Go on. Give it a good three-times-over and then come back...
Got it? I mean really... do you understand how true that is? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do... you are indispensable to someone. Nobody else can really fill your shoes.
My daddy worked for the telephone company for 27 years. For 27 years, people around the world depended on my father to do his little office job here in small town Kentucky, so that they would be able to have reliable telephone service in order to communicate with their family members, friends, co-workers, doctors, lawyers, etc. My daddy had a passion for electronics and telephones. He used to take me to work with him sometimes when I was a little girl, and he would let me help him push buttons and flip switches and repair glitches on the switchboards. When he died, he moved on to the next world talking about wires and boxes and pushing buttons. You may not know my daddy’s name, but what he did may very well have been a part of your life. If it wasn’t a part of yours, it was a part of someone’s. And pardon my pretension, but that someone should be grateful that my dad did his job and did it well. Nobody else could really fill my daddy's shoes.
My husband is a janitor and a maintenance guy - or as he likes to say it, a “Master of the Custodial Arts”. He works at a school. He spends 8 hours a day scrubbing toilets, taking out trash, mopping floors, and many other things. He changes light bulbs when they burn out. He inspects the playground’s gravel pit and checks the tarps under all that gravel to be sure there’s nothing there to hurt the kids when they go outside to play. When the H1N1 epidemic hit the schools, my husband spent hours upon hours scrubbing desks with disinfectant so that children and teachers at the school would be protected from the flu. When we go out to shop or out to eat, if a kid from school sees my husband, they pursue him like the paparazzi. My husband is a rock star to those kids. He talks to them when they pass him in the hallways, and he takes care of their school building, and they love him for it. Pardon my pretension, but the parents of the children at Hubby’s school should be grateful that he is there to do his job and do it well. Nobody else can really fill my husband's shoes.
My friend Stephanie recently did a blog-a-thon for the Angela Shelton Foundation. Stephanie stayed up for 24 hours, blogging about survivors and sharing their stories with others. Stephanie broadcast her blog-a-thon live on Ustream, and throughout the course of that 24-hour period, she not only raised awareness for victims and survivors everywhere, she raised $500.00 for the Angela Shelton Foundation AND touched a bunch of lives in the process! That $500.00 will change someone’s life. That money will help someone find healing. That money might very well SAVE someone’s life. Pardon my pretension, but we should be grateful that someone like Stephanie cares enough to take an entire day to stop what she is doing and say, “SURVIVORS MATTER!” She's indispensable! Nobody else could really fill Stephanie's shoes.
There’s a lady who works at the McDonald’s I pass on the way to town. Being the coffee addict that I am, pretty much every time I go to town, I drive through McDonald’s to buy a small coffee with two creams and one Splenda. I would say 80% of the time that I place my order, this lady is the one who’s taking it. I have NEVER heard anything but a smile in her voice. When I pull up to the speaker and she says, “Thank you for choosing McDonald’s today. May I take your order?” I get excited, because she is so pleasant and so joyful that seeing her smile is just nice. In a world where everything is fast-paced and the economy’s tanking and people are killing each other over religion and money and oil and a plethora of other ridiculous things, this woman takes the time to make sure she is SMILING and telling me to have a nice day when she sends me to the next window to pick up my coffee. She is spreading joy by treating every customer with respect and by smiling them on through that drive-thru line. I don’t even know her name, but I’m grateful that she takes the time to do her job with a smile. Sometimes buying coffee from that lady shifts my attitude completely! As silly as it may seem to you, that woman is absolutely indispensable to me. Nobody else could fill her shoes and do that job like she does it!
You may think you don’t matter to anyone, but the truth is that no matter who you are or what you do, no matter what you look like, no matter how much money you have or don't have, you are indispensable! Take a moment to close your eyes and think about what would happen if you decided to go into hiding for a week or two. Sure, someone might step in to fill your shoes for the time being, but nobody else in the whole wide world can fill your shoes like YOU can... because they're YOUR shoes. Wear your shoes with pride and go make your difference in some else's life today like no one else can!