I want to talk about mud, and how good things can come out of it— like Lotus Flowers.
According to Google:
"The lotus flower is one of the most ancient and deepest symbols of our planet. The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. ... Untouched by the impurity, lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind. The lotus flower represents long life, health, honor, and good luck."
The last few weeks have been a trial for me. I thought I was making a good decision by leaving the trucking/warehouse company where I worked as an administrative assistant, to take a part-time job in the small, one stoplight town where I live. In the end, it was a good decision, but at first, I wasn't sure if I didn't have some mud in my brain when I decided to leave my first job.
My new job was as a cashier at a convenience store a block-and-a-half from where I live. After standing on my feet for 7 hours, on my very first shift, I quickly realized I was going to have some problems.
My plan was to walk to work and walk home. That plan did not work well. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I took that job. You see, my left foot has been broken once, my right foot has been broken twice, had two surgeries, and I still have a steel rod that goes from my heel into my ankle.
The job itself wasn't difficult. Standing on my feet for seven hours at a time, with absolutely no breaks, was another story. By the time I got done with my first shift, I was in such severe pain it was nearly unbearable. I don't know what I was thinking taking a job requiring so much standing. UGH!
The first lesson I learned was not to expect more from myself than I can physically give. Unfortunately, in this case, my physical limitations got the best of me.
But that wasn't the most important lesson I learned.
For seven weeks, I did the very best I could. The job itself wasn't difficult, but let me tell you, I learned a lot more about people than I wanted to. Don't get me wrong, most of the people were really nice, both those that I worked with, and the customers that came into the store. But then, there were the others who thought it was funny to be rude to others and even try to cheat others. The people who threw trash on the floor and said loud enough for everyone else to hear *it's okay, that's what they pay ignorant store clerks for— to clean up people's messes.* (There were at least four people that I know of working in the store who have college degrees, myself included, and not one person I worked with was by any means ignorant!) Those were just the highlights.
I tried. I truly did. I tried to see some glimmer of kindness in people like that. It was difficult at the very best. I told myself that they were just having a bad day or perhaps someone had treated them rudely earlier, and they were just venting. When that didn't work, and I felt myself getting steamed, I knew I had to find a different way to deal with the ugliness that occasionally crossed my path. It was more than just a test of my patience. It was a test of my character. It was a test of everything my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles had taught me. How would I respond to those who were less than kind, and how would I deal with the negativity they seem to carry with them?
During this whole process I came to a realization that no matter what the person says or does, no matter what circumstances I am in, I don't have to respond to or carry negativity with me. If someone wants to walk through the mud, I can't stop them. If I find myself in the middle of a mud puddle, there is no law written that says I must walk through the mud with them or stay standing in the middle of the mud. Instead, I will search for whatever glimmer of beauty I can find and hold on to that instead.
Not everything about that seven weeks was negative. During that time some very good things happened to me. For one, I finally got to meet a very good friend that I had known and worked with online for a few years. I also got to do some fun things with some of my other friends. I also had a chance to visit with my family because I finally had a little extra time. The weekend after my very last shift at the convenience store, I also got to go to San Antonio with three other ladies and we had a blast.
When I received an excellent job offer out of the blue, I gladly accepted it— something I might not have done had I still been working at the trucking/warehouse company.
From the mud of that seven weeks, I found new strength and patience and kindness within myself and others. It was a difficult few weeks. But I'm glad I went through it.
Out of the mud of that seven weeks, I found my lotus flower.