Beautiful Garden

A friend called me the other night, in tears and with enough despair and hopeless in her voice that I wanted to cry with her and I did. I have watched my friend suffer from the temper and emotional instability of an extremely ill-equipped manager for the past three years. Her efforts and successes being award her with “you could do better” and there is a constant undertow of threats of being fired. This is a boss that rules with fear and is using the economic downturn to treat her employees with little to no respect. It breaks my heart. She fights the good fight, with head held high most days, but today was one of those days.

I try to help her gain perspective. We recently read and watched The Help together and we were grateful that a bad day at work didn’t mean physical harm like it did for so many African Americans living in the south only 50 years ago. I reminded her that she had more opportunity than most of the world, that she was lucky. She could see she had something to be thankful for… barely. And I felt like such a crummy friend pulling the whole world into her situation. I hate when people do that to me, and I apologized.

All I could do was be sad with her and tell her she really did work for the sickest most damaged woman living in the United States, well, at least in the mid-west. I listened and did so without trying to fix it. I wish I could have fixed it though. Then when she was finished and the tears became just sniffles I told her things I wanted her to hear. And it’s important to wait for the tears to finish, the words of pain to stop spewing and the expletives to disappear before you say anything. No one can hear during that time. It’s like trying to get someone who is puking to eat… sorry to be so growce.

I reminded my friend of who she is and always will be and it went something like this…

You are kind. You make good cookies. You make me laugh everyday. You bring value to my world and anyone who knows you. Basically you have a garden with lots of flowers! All kinds of flowers are in your garden, it is full of color and beauty and there’s no better place.

Here’s to my friend. Your garden is beautiful and no one can change that, not even a crummy boss.