Today I am thankful for "getting schooled" this past week. I had an older man, who has been working with me on some big projects, really get after me for not having the courage to fight for what is right no matter what. Honestly, he yelled at me for nearly 20 minutes. But it was good yelling. I was appreciative. I started to cry and when I apologized he said, "You should be emotional! This is important!"
He taught me that I must do what is right, I must fight, no matter the procedures, processes or people that stand in the way. I thought there was only one way to proceed in this situation, because that is what everyone else had told me and my past experience had also seemingly proven this to be true. I was doing it all the way I'd been told it was supposed to be done.
This fighting for what is right is a great lesson I have learned the hard way throughout my life. I was raised to be respectful, polite and stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, at times I have put standing up for myself and others and doing what is right behind these virtues, mistakenly thinking I was taking the higher road. Which in the big picture was not the right thing. These moments have haunted me and particularly the past few years I have had life lessons that have forced me to find my "radical protester" side and silence momentarily my "good manners."
It is okay to create a stir sometimes, to raise a little hell even. This man taught me that "the way things are supposed to be done" doesn't mean a hill of beans to anyone if you go in fighting courageously and stand up for what you think is right with great passion. You never know what you can turn on its end if you shock the status quo a little bit, give it a surprise blast with your own enthusiasm, conviction-filled defibrillator.
The funny thing is when I first met this man I thought he was going to be the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I had looked him up online and he could not be more unlike me and everything I stand for. In fact, we should inherently completely ABHORE each other. He has pushed me, questioned me, and even insulted me at times. But what I found was that we actually agree on many things, but we believe in taking paths that differ ideologically or politically to getting there.
I am grateful that he has made me stronger by questioning me about what I believe. I have had to do some soul-searching about why I believe what I do so that I could defend myself - and I have! Excellent. I have also had to break down, burn up and throw out some of the things I have always believed about how the world works - because guess what, they aren't true. Thankfully, this man has also taught me some very valuable lessons from his world that I will take forward into mine.
Our paths are not as far apart as I once thought and I am very grateful for the lessons I have learned from him. We had a big laugh at the end of our conversation the other day when he cracked up and said "Look at me, lecturing you." We laughed so hard and I said, "I know, how shocking! You of all people are one of the best things that ever happened to me." We laughed hard. I think this crusty old man is starting to like me and I am starting to be very soft-hearted for him. Shocking. There are many things in this association to be grateful for and that's not even including the big outcomes I am hoping for. Thanks for yelling at me, friend!