Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When You Give Someone a Cookie

The other night I was reading Lisa Whittle's post. She always makes me think. It was about how one of her dear friends didn't like her initially. Ouch. But this woman decided to pray for her. Now, she is one of those friends that Lisa can call any time.

I had taped a show Friday night called Flashpoint. It's a new cop type show. Given that everything else is reruns, I decided to tape it. I finally got around to watching it. Here's the storyline. A man gets the page letting him know that he should rush his daughter to the hospital for a heart transplant. They get there and settled in only to find out that there was a mix up and the heart is going to someone else. The dad has been up for three days straight in a vigil over his dying daughter. The stress breaks him. He grabs a security guy's gun and takes hostages.

Of course, that is when they call in the team. I haven't watched it enough to know the names of everyone yet. But "Head Guy" goes in to negotiate with him. Others are watching him on the monitor. The dad wants the TV turned back on for his daughter. Rule #1, never give a hostage taker anything without getting something in return. So, Head Guy asks dad to ask each person if they are okay. He does this but skips the man on gurney who is slated to get the heart. Head Guy says, "What about him? Is he okay?" He encourages dad to ask him.

The rest of the team who are watching debrief this for us. It turns out that one of the tactics is to make the hostage into a person. By having dad ask the hostage if he is okay, the hostage begins to become a person rather than a means to an end.

Lisa's post fit right in with this. It made me think of work. One woman works in another office. One day when I was still very new, she came in the back door, walked to my desk, and demanded that I look something up for her. I was in the process of leaving and I was use to people going to the counter. I got really flustered and was offended by her tone. I managed to find what she needed but decided that I didn't like her at all. After she left, they explained who she was and all, but it didn't help me liking her.

A couple months ago I made my famous chocolate chip cookies. (I'm probably overly proud of them.) I took some to the office. As I was taking a short break, God prompted me to put three on a little plate and take them down to this woman. From that time forward, every time I walk by she waves. If she comes into the office, she stops to talk to me. When you give someone a cookie or a prayer or a smile, sometimes you forge a connection because you have made them human.

I've probably used this C.S. Lewis quote before, but I think it sums things up so nicely that I'll use it again.

It is a serious thing to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship or else a horror and a corruption such as you meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long, we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of those overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealing with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people.

When we remember another's humanness, we treat them with more humanity. When we remember that they may have things going on in their lives that we know nothing about, we can respond with mercy and kindness. When we treat them with respect even when we might not feel respected, we give them dignity. When we offer kindness, we never know what doors God will open up.



Joyful said...

Amy, this is so great. I was just sharing this exact same concept with my son who is a Division Leader at our church Day Camp. As you can imagine, there are a few children who make every day...well.."interesting". I've shared this blog post with him. Thanks for confirming the truth I was trying to teach!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I like your observation. I think it's especially true in the workplace. Whether it's colleagues or customers, there will be those people who just rub you the wrong way for whatever reason. Befriending them, praying for them, taking them cookies can turn the whole relationship around. And if it doesn't you're still a better person for what you've done. Blessings, marlene

tiggerdaisy said...

Amy, you have really hit a nerve here. Great post--Great reminder! All too often we want people to excuse our bad behavior when we have something going on in our lives, but we never stop to think that other people may have their own set of issues causing bad behavior.

Prayers and blessings,

Heather@Mommymonk said...

It sounds like those famous cookies could make friends out of any enemy! :) Our attitude toward someone can be the difference between friendship and frustation.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You sent me on a flashback!

I wrote about it and linked to your post here in my post entitled "cookies and fries" on Pragmatic Compendium.