Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pearl Necklace Part 2: Hiking Boots - A Simple Hello

      Not a good day. NOT a good day. Not a good way to start the day telling yourself ‘not a good day.’ My work morning begins at 6 a.m. or earlier with a definite routine designed to get all the required reports ready for management before 8 a.m. There I was pouring the nectar of life, caffeine, when an email popped up on my work computer and crashed my routine. Despite my best efforts to keep a well intended process improvement group from ‘going into the light,’ they were storming ahead.
      Now you must understand that this fifty six year old woman looks upon the workers in the plant as her children. I am, to say the least, a ferocious mother bear when it comes to protecting them from the suits and clean finger nail level of management who see only profit and not people. Management was pressuring them. They were stressing out and not thinking. Thirty plus years of experience and wisdom scars told me they were going the wrong direction and headed for disaster. I felt like a parent trying to convince my puberty ridden teenager that just because everyone else was jumping off the roof doesn’t mean they should jump.
      Not a good day. NOT a good day. As their message to be delivered to management seared my heart another message reached my brain: stop pouring, STOP pouring! Like a waterfall spilling into the river lake my precious life sustenance overflowed the paper cup and was table dancing on my desktop. Rat farts batman! I must have verbalized my reaction because my buddy across the hall came over to make sure I was ok. I looked at his face, his gentle eyes and huge grin and pointed to the computer screen. His jolly Santa Claus face chuckled and he pointed to the coffee cup. We both stood there laughing. Shaking his head he left me alone to figure it out.
      Fast forward past the clean up. More messages continued to pop up related to the first as well as other disaster fears and I was beginning to feel Henny-penny was right. “Over my dead body” was ruled out as an acceptable response to the email. One fire at a time. I collared the guys and brought them into my office.
      As we all took a deep breath before the battle my work cell phone buzzed with a message. A gentle sister of light sent a ‘simple hello, you were on my mind’ email. That was it. I stared at the phone screen and folded my feet up in the lotus position. One of the guys cleared their throat to bring me back to reality. I looked up at them, down to my folded feet and back to the phone screen. My heart exhaled. When my blue teary eyes met their stare I smiled. My steel toed shoes made my favorite sitting position painful, my hiking boots did not. I did not need the protection. I didn’t need to ‘feel like one of them.’ I am who I am, I am me. I needed only to let the love of a mother bear spill over like my coffee cup. ‘Hello” I said to them with my eyes bowing to theirs. A simple hello. And we talked.