Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lessons in Names

Brought to you by The Cheesecake Factory.

Her name is Arden.  Did you know that?  And did you know she has a really cool job and the dress she wore yesterday was this beautiful fitted black thing, the kind you wear when you want to act like you don't want people to look at you but you really want them to look at you.

I didn't know any of that.

Her name is Arden.  And for all intents and purposes, she hated me.  Every encounter we had at one of my events was negative.  I was always asking her to leave the jacuzzi since we still had to tear down an event or take her alcohol outside because our caterer does not permit outside alcohol.  She used to just roll her eyes and walk away and then, one day, recently she stared at me with what could only be described as hatred.  I looked at her and said, "You really don't like me, do you?"  It's a rare thing for a person not to like me. 

Annoyed?  Sure.  Exhausted?  Of course.  Needing a break or vacation from All Things Cole?  Definitely. But not like?  That stings in ways that get to the heart.  I'm someone people like.  I'm a person to know.  Not in a fancy papparazi block my eyes from the cameras way but in a knowing way.

My birthday came around and the whole Cole's 38 Mitzvah Project thing started and Arden stayed on my mind.  Truthfully, I couldn't get her off my mind during this whole project.  I'm not okay with people being at odds with me, especially when my hearts intent, it's song is to love on people.  I kept trying to think of a way to talk to her but didn't know how or what to do. 

It happened.  As naturally as if it was ordained.  I was sitting in my office and looking at a gift card my family gave me and Arden walked by which she never does.  I asked her to come into my office.  The first thing I did was:

1. Ask her name.  How many people do we interact with and don't even take the time to know them by name?
2. Apologized for not knowing her name and for not getting to know her. She only knew me as the "rules" woman and not the woman.
3. Told her a little about me.  Engagement goes two ways.  If you want someone to let you in, you've got to let them in, too.
4. Ask forgiveness.  For being all about work and not about people.  For not doing this sooner. 
5. Gave.  I gave her the gift card and asked her to please have lunch on me. 

This sweet girl who had so much anger towards me...melted.  Literally melted.  Her shoulders dropped.  Her countenance shifted.  Her voice went from aggressive to soft and sweet.  She realized I was human and she realized I knew she was one, too.

There are a million reasons why our first reaction is anger or hurt or aggression and it takes time to sort through that, sure.  But when, if, you have the chance to push through to the side of love, I challenge you to do it.  You might get eye rolls or the silent treatment.  Or you might find an Arden with a soft, soft heart waiting for someone to find it.

Much love to you this early Summer day,
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