Turtle Chases Shark

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato

I’ve personally faced some employment challenges lately (which are much different than “challenges at my place of employment” – although, I faced those recently too), but that drought ended Monday. As I spread my good news around, I am strongly reminded of the fragile equilibrium balance within relationships. Kinda like this:

“I got a job!” I announce with joy.

Some friends cheer.

Some friends cheer through gritted teeth.

Some friends cheer, then change the subject.

(At least I think I’ve announced, “I got a job!” Maybe I’m shouting, “I’m king of the world!”)

Pile of Turtles

One friend keeps the Plato quote above as a footnote to every e-mail he writes. He’s been teased for it, but I think it’s a vital daily reminder. Sometimes we assume everyone around us is doing about as well as we are, because we’re all keeping afloat. If asked, we’re all turtles in one big slippery pile, right?

No…

We’re more like turtles struggling to keep up with sharks.

 

(Sharks, in this metaphor, represent how well you secretly think everyone else is doing.)

Since Monday, here are a few snippets of what the people I announced my good news to  shared in return:

  • One elderly friend called from the hospital. She fell down while alone in her apartment. Last time she fell, she hit her head; this time, she protected her head by twisting mid-fall and “only” cracked a rib. After the hospital releases her, she’s off to “rehab” (um… “Do you mean physical therapy?”) to solve her balance issue. All of this interferes with her planned, upcoming 85th birthday bash. Her family — who  all live across the country — need to revise their scheduled (very rare) visit.
  • Another friend fired a co-worker this week, someone she’d spent a year recruiting for the job, and who she also considered a friend. That relationship is ruined. My friend looks incompetent at her job for poor judgement in who she hired and/or her leadership, and now has to cover that position, find a replacement, train them, etc.
  • A neighbor I’m friendly with went hiking today, got physically attacked by a homeless man, successfully fought him off, called the police, waited two hours to give her report, and then her attacker returned and attacked again. That was when the cops showed up and made their arrest.

No, that’s not everything I heard (for instance, I’m skipping the story of a “dentist visit” on purpose), but I’d bet each of you could tell me as many battle stories right back.

I’ve had tension with others this week, and been short-tempered when I should have been kind. Yet I’m the one having the good week. Shame on ME!

Anyway, I leave you with this reminder as you head back out to the battlefields:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ Plato

Grab your drink of choice, and good luck!

 

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