Saturday, April 08, 2006

Three Anecdotes about Life's Humbling Experiences

And What I Think About It...

We knew a nice middle-aged man when we lived in West Berlin. He was a retired Army officer who was married to a German lady, and he worked for the Burger King in the PX so he could have a certain type of ID card that made it easy to travel to East Berlin. (He and his wife loved going over there to shop because the merchandise was cheap with American dollars.) He made a comment about being a fast food employee that I still remember: "The work is humbling, but not humiliating."


I knew a fellow who worked for a while on the garbage truck that comes out our way. He was a personable, intelligent man who formerly had a job doing some kind of sales that required a lot of travel. He took the garbage truck job because it paid the bills and allowed him to be home every night with his family. He decided to value his family over his job prestige.


I once knew a young woman who couldn't have a conversation without mentioning her college degrees. She wouldn't even entertain people in her home if she suspected they hadn't graduated from college! I eventually learned that she had come from a very poor family. Since then, she and her husband have had four children, and two of the children have health problems that have required surgeries and long hospital stays. When I last saw her a few years ago, she didn't even mention her degrees. She was much more likable than she used to be, but I would never have wished her the troubles she's had.


I subtitled this "And What I Think About It," so I'll offer an observation. The character and intellect of a person can't be reliably judged by the type of work he or she does or by the number of years of school he or she completed. That's so obvious that it's trite, but it doesn't hurt to say it again, I guess.

1 comment:

Gwuinifer said...

Never stop saying it. Every young generation thinks they know better- but sooner or later everyone gets to the point where they (at least partially) realize that they don't. It's at this crucial moment that the wisdom passed down from loving parents immemorial is most insightful, pertinant, and best of all, taken to heart! Beautiful post, Genevieve.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.