Talking to Myself, Feeling Old…

I heard it in my head today…Karen Carpenter’s spectacular, sultry voice singing, “Talking to myself and feeling old.  Nothing ever seems to fit; feeling like I want to quit…Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.”   What made me start to hear the song?  Was it the gray skies I saw through the window as I awoke to the alarm clock’s raucous squalls?  Maybe it was the thermometer hovering in the upper teens as this winter-hater left the house for work a little later.  It was Monday morning, after all and there wasn’t much promise of any change for the day.

First thing as I sat at my desk, I noticed one of my friends had left the following encouraging message as her status update in one of the prevalent social media sites: “It’s raining and it’s Monday.  Any questions?”  I could identify and told her so.  Several others digitally nodded agreement, by clicking the “like” button.  And, as the morning progressed, it seemed that, whether the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy, or simply in the course of normal events, it was going to be a day like that.

Each time the phone rang this morning, there was a problem to address.  I told the Lovely Lady later that it wasn’t so much that everybody was mad at me, but just that I had to scramble to keep them from getting into that condition.  Each conversation could have gone either way; a lost customer and bad PR, or satisfaction of a disaster averted and a continued good relationship with them.  By the end of the morning, I was definitely feeling the manifestation of the derivative stress.  The tightening muscles in the neck, along with the accompanying headache were my reward for a job well done.  Packages traced, back-orders filled, promises of merchandise to be held for pickup…All of these seemed irrelevant in light of my discomfort. 

Does it seem that I’m complaining again?  Because I’m definitely not.  You should know by now that these minor setbacks are commonplace, with the resultant low spirits being short-lived.  I have learned that I cannot stay for long in the little valleys, because I see and talk with too many people in the day who invariably tell me their compelling stories.  There is no doubt in my mind that nothing increases a thankful spirit like realizing the insignificance of my problems.

It took one more problem, however, to shed the light in the darkness for me.  An issue arose with an incoming shipment, a problem which necessitated a call to the customer service department of one of our vendors.  The usual perky young lady answered the phone and asked how she could direct my call.  When I responded by telling her that I had an issue with a shipment, she replied, “Oh, you need to speak with Margie.”  I realized, as Margie’s pleasant voice came on moments later, that I never talked with her except when I had a complaint.  I apologized for that, but she replied cheerily, “Oh, that’s my job!  I love helping people solve problems!”  Understand, this lady talks with people all day long who are griping.  They never call her to say how happy they were that their order arrived safely, or on time, or with the correct contents.  She only gets complaints.

I was reminded of the frequent calls I take which compliment our service, our selection, or our presentation on our website.  Sure, I take the calls with complaints, too, but those I take to heart and respond negatively, at least in my demeanor, if not in my interaction with the customer.  But, I don’t get the negative calls even half of the time, perhaps not even one fourth of the time.  Margie was her usual cheerful self as she told me that she would look into my problem and get back with me.  And I was refreshed!  What a great example, what an attitude to aspire to.  Sometimes, we just need to be reminded of how great our lives really are, in spite of the negative situations.  Hey, everybody has those!  The key isn’t in whether everything is hunky-dory, it’s in whether we let it bog us down and steal our joy in life.

Another friend listed as her status on that same social medium this evening, “LIFE. IS. GOOD.”  I wholeheartedly agree!  Nobody said perfect, just good.  And, I could hear the rest of the lyrics from Karen’s song resounding in my head, “Funny how it seems I always end up here with you.  Run and find the one who loves me…”  I’m confident she wasn’t singing about the same Someone I’m thinking of, but the reminder is apropos.  In tough times, we’re never alone.  Life is good, simply because He is Good.

Oh yeah…the sun broke through the clouds this afternoon, both literally and figuratively.  What a beautiful day!

“Stay the course, light a star.
Change the world, where’er you are.”
Richard Le Gallienne~English poet and author 1866-1947

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