Every once in a great while I have these random moments of clarity; like suddenly everything makes sense and I have this peaceful, beautiful perspective of all that’s in existence. They’re always brief — like a flash of lightening that burns a shadow on my mind’s retina, leaving an imprint, a sense, much more lingering than the moment itself. They come and then they go, usually at strange times, and I’m left trying to stay in that moment — or, rather, go back to it, because it was over almost before I realized it was happening. All I know is that somewhere inside that Presence is the way I want to live.
Well, maybe you know what I’m talking about and maybe you don’t, but I had one of those moments today when I was taking out the trash at Starbucks — a fairly hideous job (particularly on a wet, snowy, cold day like today), just below cleaning the bathrooms and just above cleaning the floor drains — and as I was was dragging the heavy cart with two huge garbage cans filled to the brim with empty cups, leftover coffee, used napkins, and assorted pastry shards a strange thought entered my ever-brooding head: “Don’t forget.”
“Don’t forget,” it said again.
And I said, “Huh?”
And then it made sense.
“When you move on to a new job where you don’t have to get dirty or serve coffee to bratty customers or drag two hundred pounds of waste a hundred yards to a stinky dumpster, don’t forget what it was like when you did.”
“Don’t forget that there are people that still do this. And when you someday stand in line as a customer at the Green Empire with no employee discount, don’t forget that some of the people behind the counter have Master’s degrees. That some of them have kids and families. And that for one reason or another, they are all here because they need to be.”
“So be kind to them. Appreciate them when they do a good job. When they give you coffee and make you smile, love them back because they are going out of their way to make your day a bit more special, in spite of the fact that nobody is paying them much of anything to do it.”
I won’t forget.