Honor & Respect

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We talk about these words a lot.  It something we expect and demand from our relationships, we discuss it in our politics.  It should be part of our religious experience, yet do we experience it?  When is the last time that a crowd, or even an individual made a great deal of noise over you?  I am not talking about the “adda girl” or “way to go man” that usually is accompanied by a slap on the back.  I am talking floor shaking “hoorah” with clapping and cheers and whistles?

When in your lifetime would you expect something like that to happen to you?  Well if you played sports or participate in some sporting event like a marathon, or triatholon or the Olympics of course!  What about those day-to-day activities that go virtually unnoticed by the world or even those closest to you.  Well I observed such a celebration today.  Dare I say it truly unnerved me.

I had gone to the mall with my husband to run and errand.  Our usual routine is, he tolerates my shopping and then begs for mercy and a visit to the Apple store.  (I would rather go to the dentist).  I agree to accompany him but bellyache all the way there.  Arriving at the store he pursues his quest.  Suddenly, a great thunderous cheer breaks out in the back of the store.  I turn to see what created this eruption of exuberance and see a young woman walking through the store.  She is getting hugs and encouragement from both staff and patrons alike.  The noise grows louder and more boisterous as everyone in the store joins in.

Not being from this “tech universe” I was baffled and confounded.  What had happened to create such a celebration?  With my husband having gotten the answer to his question – we turned to walk out the door, leaving the noise behind us.  Just as we cross the threshold of the store, the young woman, who seemed to be the center of the commotion, left with us.  As we reentered the mall I looked back and risked asking the question.  “What were they clapping and cheering about?”  Her reply, “They were just clapping me out.  Today was my last day working there.”  Her response took my breath away.

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For some of you reading this story it comes as no surprise because you understand the culture of Apple.  For others like me, it takes a moment to wrap our minds around such an amazing practice.  Yet as I have pondered and embraced it, I find myself blessed for experiencing it and very emotional.

I recently left a position I held for 13 years. My departure was riddled with a few thank you’s and we will miss you emails, spattered with words of encouragement.  Don’t get me wrong the hearts were genuine and I am grateful to all the thoughts and kind words.  I will always cherish the work I was privileged to do and the relationships with those I worked with.  Upon  reflection today, it leaves me cold and empty.

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What makes this so challenging is that I am follower of Christ, who worked for a faith based organization.  Recently I have heard many stories from those who have been released from ministry or left to go somewhere else. They pale in comparison to what I witnessed today.   As Christians aren’t we the ones who should set the bar for this kind of departure?  Practice what we preach?  Is this not what our scriptures tell us and the model of Jesus himself?  Shame on us for letting someone else do this better!

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In a time where morale is down and times are hard, I find it interesting that a tech based company gets what makes people tick.  I know we are talking about corporate America and it is far from perfect.  Yet more and more companies to their credit, understand that a culture of honor goes very far in helping to move people on and forward in their lives as well as building patronage and loyalty to their customer base.

The next time my husband wants to go to the computer store I will no longer give him grief but remember the day I learned that there are still wise and caring people in this world that do not always fit in my Sunday morning box.  I will also carry with me the importance of getting outside my box to experience what others are doing, that bring honor and dignity to the daily grind.  Last but not least I am going to find reasons to clap and cheer for other people in the ordinary moments of life.

~Kathy Buschman

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