He was a clever man, and never missed an opportunity. Never missed an opportunity to say a quick and witty thing to amuse his listeners – and if the quick and witty thing belittled another person (as his quick and witty comments so often did) EVEN BETTER.
So when the team leader said to the meeting, “I was just telling Jon about –”
CleverMan interrupted to say –
He added a smirk for good measure.
Jon was new to the team – in fact, this meeting was his introduction to the team. He was a smart 20-Something, a hard worker and treated his coworkers with respect.
He also had clean, well-groomed long-ish hair.
There were chuckles from around the table after CleverMan’s remark.
When the laughter subsided, Jon looked at CleverMan and simply said, quietly, “I don’t need any tips.”
What CleverMan did not know, and what the people around the table could not know, is that the night before, Jon, the smart 20-Something, sent a text to a friend saying simply
Been depressed lately.
WE DON’T ALWAYS KNOW.
We don’t always know what someone else is going through.
The barista who hands you coffee – she leaves her shift to go home and change her husband’s diapers (yes, I said husband)…the hood-up head-down earphones-in teen who mumbles “mornin” without looking up when you call out hello – he has Big Trouble at home…the senior on her morning walk -- she’s mourning the loss of her beloved scruffy dog…
BIG things we see. Accidents, natural disasters, catastrophic illnesses, divorces, jobs lost – these things we can SEE, and we know to be a little kinder, a little gentler.
But OHMYFRIENDS the big things are only the tip of the pain iceberg. There are people in our worlds struggling with all kinds of things -- grief, addiction, low self-worth, regret, anxiety, depression, so.much.loneliness – and others yet who feel lost and can’t even say why…
AND WE DON’T EVEN KNOW.
WE (often) DON’T KNOW what others are dealing with.
So let’s be kind today. To everyone.
Just in case.