There are days when God gives me a big dose of humble pie and all I can do is laugh at life wondering how I could have ever have taken myself so serious. As I work with the homeless I am often times disgusted with a sense of entitelment some of my clients get. Or even at the Salvation Army as I serve some of the people are not greatful but rather they feel like they have done enough and deserve everything because they have put in their time on the streets.
Tonight I finished my last night of work at Banana Republic after 8 years I was feeling sentimental. I was debating on what to write as a goodbye to all of the staff. I was anticipating my last night posting Facebook status updates building momentum. I even sent texts to people inviting them to come and say goodbye to me at work. Driving through traffic my mind began to wander imagining what they would do for my last day. In the past people had cakes or large going away parties. Would I get cupcakes or a chocolate cake? No, surely not they knew I was always trying to eat healthy. When I entered the back break room there was no cake, no card but rather finger foods for a client event we were hosting at the store that night. As our store manager went to leave she said, “Sorry I didn’t do a going away party I figure you got one before when you left and came back. Just get some food if you want from what we have for the clients.” I nibbled on some chocolate covered almonds laughing to myself at the insignificance of my last shift.
No one came to see me. We were short staffed so I had to work harder to get the store ready to close. No big fanfare as I wheeled a sign in and closed and locked the doors. Leaving I couldn’t even get any friends to meet up with me to celebrate my last night. I thought I deserved a huge celebration or giant cake a celebration on a grand scale. Instead I got a few chocolate covered almonds and some empty bottles for recycling after putting in almost a decade with the company.
On my quiet drive home I was reminded of my flower chair in college that I got from my friends for my 21st birthday. It was a clear inflatable chair with a flower in the center of the seat. I was so disapointed when I opened the gift bag with it. In the past my group of girlfriends and I had put money together to get the birthday girl a sweater or cute shirt. As I sat in the middle of my girlfriends all of them smiling and gazing on as I pulled the chair out of the gift bag I felt myself plaster on a smile and say, “Oh boy this is so cool I love it.”
That summer I ended up working a junior high camp with a 70’s theme. That goofy inflatable chair was used as the groovy chair, a place where the camper with the most camp spirit got to sit each night as we announced team totals from that days activities. The kids loved it and each night kids would try to sneak in and get a picture in it. By the end of the week the chair ended up springing a leak from kids flouncing in it. That gift that I hated ended up being the highlight of camp.
In life we often feel like we earn things. We have a sense of entitlement feeling that the world owes us because we have paid our dues. All the world has to offer sometimes is less that what we think we deserve. In my case it was some chocolate covered peanuts and an empty bottle for my 8 years at Banana and an inflatable chair for my 21st birthday. Caught in the here and now constantly caught up in the dumpy gifts or lack of rewards for what we think is a job well done. When really we are simply doing what is the minimum requirement.
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 4:46-48
Are you dissapointed that you haven’t gotten some sort of recognition or do you feel that you are owed something and you haven’t gotten it. Perhaps you may want to stop yourself and ask,”Am I only doing what I need to get by or to get praise?” We are only called to love (Matthew 22:36). For that sometimes there is no reward.
Written June 10, 2010