This morning when I rose and strode into the bathroom I stepped into a puddle. At first I thought the toilet was leaking, but as I mopped things up water hit my head and I realized the leak was from on high. Yes, there really is a point to this, so please hang in there with me.
My roof is just over two years old so I hadn’t expected any leaks. After breakfast I dug up his number and called the roofer.
First, the roofer was quick to say any leaks were covered, no charge, and that he’d have someone come out to see what the problem was and fix it.
But as we talked I realized something. He and his crew had done a great job with the roof. I’ve been very happy with it. There are times when, coming back from fetching the mail, that I look up at the roof and smile. I like it a lot. I’ve even recommended the roofer to a couple of people in the neighborhood who asked about him. But I’d never called HIM to tell him. The first time he hears from me in over two years is when something goes wrong.
I mentioned this to him as we spoke, and he was very nice about it and said that this was always the case.
But it shouldn’t always be the case. Should it? And I’m writing this in part to remind myself that I need to be intentional about appreciating people’s work.
To be fair, I do try to be sure to show the appreciation I feel to the people I work with at the church. And I do try to write letters or make phone calls when I receive really good service somewhere, as well as to complain when I receive really bad service.
But in two years I’d never called Mark (my roofer) to tell him what a great job he’d done and how much I appreciated it. Yes, I’d paid him. But as is often said: money ISN’T everything. At least that’s what I tell myself and the Living Interfaith congregation. We all need money, sure. Without money, it’s hard to eat, have a place to sleep or get even modestly decent health care (the next blog may well be pondering how it is we became widgets in the health care system instead of people – but I digress).
I believe all of us need more than $. I believe we need much more. We need to be appreciated.
No, I am not going to lobby for an “Appreciate Others Day.” One of my personal peeves is that I don’t think we make up for neglecting something 364 days a year by celebrating it 1 day a year. But I am reminded of how intentional we need to be, how intentional I need to be, in appreciating other people’s work.
As irony would have it, as I was pondering this, I received in the mail today a beautiful note from a member of Living Interfaith telling me how much he appreciated me. And I can tell you first hand, it means a lot to hear that. We are all human. We all have self-doubts. When the only time people talk to us about our work or our lives is when they have a criticism or complaint, it takes its toll.
So I’m asking myself who else have I appreciated in silence? And, as this is a blog, I throw the question out there for all of us to consider.
I look around and it seems very much that we are a complaint-driven society. I wonder if we were an appreciation-driven society instead if it might not go a long ways towards moving us in the direction of the world of compassion, love and community that we say we all seek.
Just some random thoughts on a cold, wet day.