It's Lenten Season and I found this article while browsing the net. I hope this can inspire us in any ways.
It was one of those days I did not wish to live again. I had been working for weeks to secure a deal that would give me a nice commission. Everything seemed to go perfectly and I had already been joking with co-workers what I would do with the extra income.
I picked up the phone and called to the customer to get the deal finalized, only to hear that the recession had hit the company. My customer told me that half of the staff had been let go and that all purchases were put on hold.
I had so concentrated on this deal that I had not worked much on my other customers and knew that instead of getting a big fat check I’d be having one of the smallest ones I had ever received.
I just couldn’t stay at my desk. I got up and went to get some coffee. The cleaning lady was just washing the vending machine. I slumped to a chair and felt awful.
“Bad day?” she asked.
Startled, I looked up. The cleaning lady was looking at me.
“You could say that again,” I sighed.
“What is the matter?” she asked.
She was a motherly type of a woman with kind eyes. I had seen her around for years but I never said a word to her really. And yet I suddenly found myself telling the whole pitiful story to her. She listened intently, finished cleaning the vending machine and nodded.
“Your situation reminds me of my own father,” she said. “He was also a salesman, but not lucky enough to be able to sit in one office. He was a traveling salesman. You know: big suitcases and all. Vanished for weeks sometimes and came back with an empty bag, pay check and a big hug for us kids and mother.”
I looked at her, not knowing where she was going with this.
“There was a time when he also lost a big sale. It was just before Christmas and he had to tell us children that there would be very few presents. We were disappointed, but he gathered us around him and told a story. I shall always remember those inspirational words. First, he asked us which animals we liked best. My answer was cats. My older brother liked dogs and my younger brother loved ponies. Then, he asked if we wanted to know which animals he admired the most and, of course, we did. The bees, the ants and the spiders, he told us.”
I lifted my eyebrows. The cleaning lady smiled.
“Now, of course, we did not agree with him but asked why ever would he like such nuisances. Didn’t they bite or sting or just look plain ugly? He explained to us and his inspirational words have been my guideline ever since.
“He said he liked the bees because if a bear breaks their nest and steals their honey, they keep on building their honeycombs, making more honey. And he liked the ants because if the same bear destroys their nest, they also immediately start building their nest anew, working together for a common goal. And he liked the spiders because if their webs are destroyed, they start repairing the damage right away — or building a whole new, better one.
“He said that the lesson that he had learned from these little insects was that the world may surprise us sometimes by destroying even our most carefully-built plans but if we choose to be ready to start all over again no matter what, eventually we shall achieve great results. We shall just have to start again, one step at a time.”
At that, the cleaning lady nodded to me and pushed her cart out of the room.
I sat there for a while, thinking of what she had said. Then, I got up, walked back to my desk and started to build my next pay check, one customer at a time.