The pieces are coming together for a better life

Published 9:17 am Monday, March 1, 2010

I took a vacation this week to try and put back together the pieces of my mind that sometimes seem to be missing some days. Here are a few pieces.

Chivalry is not dead. I was leaving Home Depot carrying a long piece of trim, trying to juggle my purse and a few wishing catalogs when my hands decided to drop them. A very nice gentleman stopped to help me. His smile and his help made my day better. I miss having doors opened and chairs pulled out. Many of our young women will never know how nice it is to have someone pull out their chair, open the car door and do the little things that men used to do in respect for women.

Max Lucado was on my reading list this week. The book was “It’s Not About Me.” One of the statements in his book gave me pause. The statement is “Your pain has a purpose. Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end — the glory of God.” I wasn’t quite sure how that worked until I read a story about Elton John in the Parade Magazine. Ryan White, the 12-year-old boy who was a hemophiliac and contracted AIDS through a blood donation, changed Elton John’s life.

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In the ’90s this boy and his family was subjected to death threats and hatred. He was banned from school because he had AIDS. This young man endured his illness and persecution without complaining and with forgiveness in his heart. This young man unknowingly through his illness changed many lives. Elton got sober because of the way this young man faced his pain and suffering. In 1992 Elton John started the Elton John AIDS Foundation. This foundation has raised money and changed many lives because of the suffering of one young brave boy named Ryan White. I now get what Max Lucado was writing about.

I also had a few minutes to hang upside down during my vacation. I thought it was the craziest thing I had ever heard. My bubbly, young-at-heart next-door neighbor got a Weider Inversion Table. She was going to hang upside down. I had no intention of hanging upside down. However, she conveniently had to leave when it was being set up and called me to duty to be the test pilot so it could be adjusted. I have a hard enough time standing up, let alone hanging upside down, but since I am such a good neighbor I decided to sacrifice myself. I warily crawled onto the table as it was being adjusted, held on tight and let myself be tipped upside down. The first upside down was a “Get me back up. I can’t do this!” as the blood rushed to my head. But after an adjustment I was able to gently lower myself. I didn’t know my back was hurting until I realized how good it felt after being upside down. Being a test pilot wasn’t so bad.

There was a news story on WCCO this week about a woman who wrote an e-mail to an executive because she was unhappy about her experience at a movie theater his company owned. This woman was upset because the theater only accepted checks and cash, no debit and credit cards and the ATM was not working. The movie was interrupted because of a search for people who were not supposed to be in the movie. She ended the note saying she would take her business elsewhere. She received a scathing letter back from an executive in the company actually telling her to take her business elsewhere with a couple of expletives. I have a couple of thoughts about this.

What was the purpose for this woman contacting WCCO tip line? Was it really to bring attention to the movie theater and the executive or was it to bring attention to her? I have been on both sides of the coin. I have been unhappy with service at some places. However, unless this was an everyday occurrence at this theater, I don’t think it merited so much attention. I am not defending the executive or his e-mail. There is never any good reason to use the language that he used. Having said that her e-mail could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back and she happened to be the one that did it. I am sure he was very sorry although she clearly stated on television that she was sure he wasn’t.

There is also never any reason an employee of a company should have to take abuse, verbal or otherwise, from a customer. It does happen and sometimes for no reason. There are customers who confront sales people all the time using vulgar language and a confrontational attitude. An employee is supposed to let it slide and treat the customer with respect. Where is the fine line for customers, employees and managers? What is the straw that breaks that fine line?

While I was putting back the pieces to my mind I had the pleasure of reading a book by Rachelle McCalla titled “Survival Instinct.” You might not recognize Rachelle’s name as she is a new author and she happens to be a friend of mine. Now I must admit I bought her book, which is a SteepleHill Christian Romance, because I know Rachelle. She is my daughter-in-law’s sister and she named the heroine in the book after my granddaughter Abby. Of course, I had to read it.

“Survival Instinct” is a mystery that takes place in Bayfield, Wis. Abby Caldwell returns to a place from her past that haunts her, Devil’s Island. Her ride home disappears, someone she knows goes missing and there are people who want to make sure she and her companions don’t leave the island. I read this book because of all the above reasons, but I finished this book because it held me, kept me enticed and made me want to read more. It was the perfect book for putting back the pieces of my mind.

I learned a lot about myself on my week off from work. I hadn’t had a week’s vacation in years. I learned that I don’t have to rush while shopping and dining with a friend.

My friend Diane kept saying “Relax, you don’t have to be anywhere. Relax we have all day. Relax, you are on vacation.”

I was feeling guilty since I had time off that I wasn’t at home organizing and cleaning. Diane reminded me that I did not have to hurry or multi-task. Vacation is vacation. It is a time to rejuvenate, rethink your life and get in touch with what is important. I had forgotten balance again.

I had a goal for my week. It was to continue with my paring down. I did do that with time in-between for breakfasting, lunching and laughing with friends. But the in between kept me going with my resolve and I made it through every closet it my house. I donated all the clothes that I had dreams of fitting in again. I let go of all the clutter in the closet. I even found an electric typewriter I didn’t know I had. I couldn’t even remember having it ever, but it was there so it must have been mine. I found all the gloves and scarves that I could not find each season and then I found the gloves and scarves that I had bought to replace the season before.

The pieces are coming together. Perhaps I will go back to work with a better idea of balance. If not I will just visit my neighbor and hang upside down. Then I will have an excuse to be tipsy.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send e-mail to her at .Her blog is Listen to KBEW AM radio 1:30 p.m. Sundays for “Something About Nothing.”