There’s a chap who is a regular at the 6pm mass I go to on Sundays. He seems a little out of step with the rest of the world. When he comes in, always late, he does a full reconnaissance of the church before carefully choosing his seat. Then mid-way through mass, he gets up and moves somewhere else. And he might move a third or fourth time, too. When the rest of us sit, he stands; when we kneel, he sits. Whatever tune is playing in his head is not the one the rest of us are listening to.
This evening, he went to the top of the church and sat in the second row. When it came to passing the collection plate, he was first in line. The collector asked him to help out as his No. 2 hadn’t showed. My chap was a little stunned at first but as this interaction played out in front of me I could see his face change from fear, to surprise, to sheer joy.
He carefully watched what the other collector was doing and mirrored it. I know I’m given to flights of fancy, but I swear that by the time he finished his rounds, he’d grown an inch or two. He was standing tall and proud and so happy that he’d been asked to do something and not, as I suspect, passed over as usual.
I had a conversation this weekend over lunch with the lovelies where we talked about asking people to do things. I was reminded of the wise words of a very wise woman – if you’ve never heard my no, you can’t appreciate my yes. All too often we don’t ask someone to do something because we think (a) they don’t have time, (b) they will say yes, even though they want to say no, or (c) they’re simply not capable. And while we’re perfectly within our rights to decide whom to ask to do what, when we make those decisions are we depriving them of an opportunity of sorts? Perhaps they (a) need encouragement to better manage their time, (b) need practice in saying no, or (c) need the chance to show themselves (and others) that yes, they can.
Trust me. Ask me. Let me decide. And then accept my answer for what it is.
It’s been a long week, but a good one. I’ve had the chance to show the AussieMayos some of my city and in doing so get to see it through a new set of lenses. I’ve happened across the strange and the peculiar and sat in silent wonder watching serendipity at work. But more than anything else, as it comes to a close, I’m grateful for the daily reminders that life offers that neither people nor circumstance should be taken for granted.
Note: For a reminder of what the Grateful series is about, check out the post Grateful 52