Love gives worth

It sounds quaint, almost Shakespearean, this paraphrase from the Bible; “now abideth faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).”
Does a lack of love disrupt our progress toward success or full self-actualization? Must we have love to fully succeed? Whether giving love or receiving love, love is a powerful reference. In fact, love is the best reference. To be loved imputes worth. Here’s a story…

A love reference at the office
For starters, the woman was totally unaware. Totally unaware when she bustled into a room that other conversations and relationships were in progress. Devoid of intuition regarding the body language of others; the expression of excuse me, I need to pass conveyed by gentle touch to the shoulder or elbow in lieu of interrupting; she startled and showed mild offence when her coworkers spoke in a decibel loud enough to be heard by her dull ears. Fact is, she was virtually un-interruptible when deep in conversation. She had favorite subjects, lifelong interests. She was so passionate about those topics, she could talk on for hours without pause or any concern for other business that was transacted or might need to be transacted around her. If that wasn’t irritation enough to an intuitive others-sensitive soul, the woman couldn’t give straight and concise information. Just let someone ask a question and the woman would wind up and deliver the answer to the question she had hoped to hear or thought she heard. Yes, she had her own agenda and it was very important business.
All these attributes grated on her coworkers. Needless to say, it did not help on the occasions she mistakenly picked up the wrong purse, gloves, or hat of an officemate and headed home at closing time leaving the more attentive persons miffed, unmuffed or stranded.
Then one day her man stopped by the office to trade keys or cars or something mundane from the everyday lives of married people. The younger, unmarried career folks were curious. What would this husband be like? This male portion of a marriage that had survived more than a couple decades. Was he crazy from living with a wife the coworkers found difficult?
No. He was not crazy.
He was respectful. He was not embarrassed. He did not put her down or try to manage her or keep her on track. Beyond that, with just a few well-spoken sentences, he let the office workers know he appreciated and admired her for her hard work over the years. He genuinely adored her. His loyalty was equal that of Sancho Panza singing, “I like her. I really like her.
And then a rather remarkable thing happened. His opinion of her increased her value to those who worked with her. They saw her from a new perspective. Worthy. Valuable over the long haul.

Never underestimate the power of a good reference. Never underestimate the value of genuine love and like. Perhaps that is why we all unceasingly desire and pursue a good love relationship. Not because we aren’t strong or brave or intelligent enough to do it on our own. Not because we are dependent on a man or a woman. But because we all need worth. A love reference gives us worth.

The Combination to Life!

The safe at the office holds the keys – literally – that allow entry to all the other important doors of business and administration. The safe at work is difficult. Complicated. Cranky. To begin with, it has a four-part combination instead of the usual three. Secondly, you have to remember how many times around the block you must drive before you stop at each address. Some days the leaden, ponderous doors open effortlessly on the first attempt. Other days, the store manager is left screaming, “Call the locksmith! Bring me a crowbar! Buy me some steal-toed boots and make it snappy! Better yet, just bring the dynamite!” On those days the lock is twirled over and over and over to no avail, each attempt cleared – erased – to start with a clean page, a blank canvas to try, try again until you succeed. But thirdly – and this is the part you must remember, for this is the combination for life – at each address, you must not draw back. Steady your hand. You must not hesitate not even one-eighth of an inch. No regrets. No retreats. Move forward in confidence.

Cinderella did not have an escort

The truth is, Cinderella had wanted to go to the ball for many years. There was live music at balls. More than just about anything, Cinderella loved music. Cinderella also loved to dance. At least, she thought she would love to dance if she ever really got the chance. Then again, maybe dancing was just one of those things that sounded really good until you did it, like public speaking or something. Perhaps in another life when all men were gifted with coordination and grace and courtesy and – most of all-a great sense of rhythm, she would get her chance to go sailing across a parquet dance floor.

Year after year the invitations came. She opened them eagerly and read every word, every description of the theme, the musical selections, the plated meal. Every year she would sigh and check her bank account and lay the invitation aside and think about it until it was too late to do anything about it.

Then one year there came a triple play for her attention. First, the invitation by traditional mail. Second, the invitation by email. Thirdly, dance lessons for that specific ball were offered at a local dance studio. Dance lesson that very evening. She would never have known but for randomly checking her email while on lunch break. Who could resist a special four-session discount? Without much deliberation, Cinderella went. She learned to Foxtrot. She learned to Swing. She heard the instructor comment on the level of dancing experience of the men who would be at the ball. Who were these men? Were they coming alone? As a team? Cinderella did not know. But it did not trouble her much, because she had not yet decided whether or not she would go. Or had she? Had she committed herself to going to the ball by taking advantage of discounted dance lessons? Surely not!

At the next session, the instructor made some off-hand remarks about dancing in an evening gown. “Evening gown?” thought Cinderella in alarm. “Have I ever owned an evening gown?” Now that changes things. “Here’s what I’ll do,” said Cinderella to her roommate. “I’ll just wear my ordinary black dress and take this pumpkin with me. Everyone will have to understand my fairy godmother didn’t show.” They laughed at the joke, but Cinderella was beginning to think she should uncommit herself.

That very weekend, she went to visit her cousin in another town. “Evening Gown?” said her cousin. “Here, borrow mine.” Cinderella had not expected that response. Once again Cinderella was forced to debate the wisdom of going to the ball unaccompanied.

Over the years, Cinderella had learned there were things you never got to do if you waited for someone to go with you. She bought the ticket. One single ticket. And in so doing inadvertently served a challenge into the court of the event planner. Fund raising events and dinner shows have tables. Round tables. Tables that seat an even number of event goers. Tables for ten to sponsor for thousands of dollars. Hundred dollar plates for couples to purchase in pairs. What’s an event organizer to do with a single ticket holder? Communicate, of course, which she did promptly via email. “Do you know anyone else who is going? Can I seat you with your friends?”

“You mean I can sit with my friends? Oh yes please! I know a violinist, a couple trumpeters, a French horn player, and a saxophonist.   We go back. Way back. Are there any vacant seats next to them?” asked Cinderella. But she only asked it in her head. Instead she responded, “Feel free to place me at a singles table or the odd place to fill out a table. I am quite comfortable with music lovers young or old.”

Replied the coordinator, “I’m glad you’re coming, even as a single date. I go on self-dates all the time, but I’ve never tried a formal event before. I like that.”

And that, my children, is how Cinderella became a trendsetter. One solitary woman, past a certain age who refused to wait for an escort or a man to help her complete her bucket list. Who realized it was time to take her place as a sturdy and august patron of the arts. Her gown is borrowed, her slippers are not glass. Though her pearls are real, her fur will be faux. Her coach is Red Pearl, a trusty Subaru. She is going to the ball. And she will definitely be home before the clock strikes twelve.