What Would I Give To Have It Back – Being Grateful

Being Grateful to do the Laundry

When Erik was in the 6th grade he had a friend named Billy who lived in a little house that was probably a tear down on a main road a few blocks away from the Jr. High. There were train tracks about a quarter mile west of Billy’s house and on this particular morning there was a long freight train with traffic stopped in both directions. When the train finally passed, the first car driving east hit Billy on his bike; technically, Billy ran into the car.

Erik came home and said that Billy had been air lifted to Lutheran General Hospital and that his brain was swelling up. A few hours later Billy died.

He was waked in his little league uniform, his single mother asked me to forgive her for not remembering my name. Erik and I parked blocks away from the huge church and the funeral was standing room only, flowing out into the narthex and beyond.

About two weeks later my mom was helping me with the 20 some odd loads of laundry I was doing every week from my 3 sons.

“Carol, I feel so sorry for you having to do all this laundry”

I started thinking about Billy’s mother, looking at his room after that horrible day. I thought about her picking up his belongings, his dirty clothes.  I started to cry.

“Mom, I am so grateful to HAVE their laundry to do”

By now I was sobbing…

“That mother would do ANTHING to be able to do her only son’s laundry.”

I never resented doing the laundry again. I wouldn’t have cared if it had been 50 loads a week, whatever it was it was better than zero. It had become a gift.

So next time you feel resentful about a chore, ask yourself –

if I for some reason I lost this chore – what would I give to have it back?

About the Author

Sarah’s latest book published by McGraw-Hill is titled Business Improv. It includes 75 activities on all aspect of business from Leadership skills to Emotional Intelligence. Sarah’s Business Improvisation based approach to learning has transformed work environments, changed lives and moved organisations forward. Her experience with the challenges leaders face allows her to help develop strategies and implementation plans that transform leaders into storytellers that move people to action. Her work with front line employees helps them communicate in a way that builds trust and collaboration. Sarah has taught Business Leadership to Executive MBA students at UCLA Anderson School of Management, Duke University Fuqua School of Business, Columbia University and the American University Cairo.

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