Well, maybe not for me, but for Joel. Do you remember your first day of work? I was 15, so I had to get a worker’s permit. My first job was working at the little restaurant in our local Woolworth’s store 43 years ago! My best friend had gotten a job there because her grandma was a cook, and they were able to help me get work too. What fun! The best thing on the menu was Brenda’s grandma’s strawberry pie with whipped cream…a version of which recipe eventually drifted down to me years after “Ma” retired. Our boss, Lil, weighed over 200 pounds, and she used to tell us that she weighed so much because she picked up calories by osmosis from working with food all the time. Brenda and I always giggled over that (privately, of course), because—even though we were young—we had taken biology!
Joel’s doing his internship at Cornerstone in the public relations department, and they’re actually going to pay him, so yesterday was his first day as a “paid professional writer!” However, even though he’s finishing his senior year in college, because he’s only 17, he also needed a worker’s permit. And, because I’d home schooled him, we had to get our paperwork filled out by the high school he would have attended. All this we discovered after he’d reported for work at 9:00 am. and been given his first assignment: to cover the “Watercooler,” a monthly newsletter for the staff. By the time he returned home, we had about an hour and a half to get everything completed, signed, certified by Cornerstone, and back to the high school so that Joel could begin in earnest at 1:00 pm.
We flew over to the school, and I will tell you that it’s a huge, awesome, Class A school with a great reputation and a beautiful new campus. The secretary was a peach and was entirely helpful. I have nothing but good things to say about the school, so I won’t give you the name, but on the secretary’s desk in the principal’s office was a charming sign for all students who approached:
“I’m busy. You’re ugly. Have a nice day.”
The sign made me laugh, and I remembered how we used to tease in highschool. Having an “attitude” was part and parcel of survival. But, now, many years later, I realize that for many young teenagers, high school is a very frightening, painful experience. I now know that people are insecure about their looks. And, probably most kids approaching the principal’s office need help and would be afraid that people might be too busy for them.
I wonder, what message do I give others? Do I seem “too busy?” Do I reject others and make them feel “ugly” and unwanted? And worse, do I then tell them, “Have a nice day!” after making them feel unloved and unwanted? May my life say, “I’m not too busy for you! I care about you. I think you’re precious! In fact, I love you, and God loves you! How can I help?” Guess I have to be very intentional about thinking about other people in order to make that happen. Lord, help us truly, truly to warm and fill people instead of just saying, “Be ye warmed and filled”.