Share Your Blessings

I was sitting at the best table in the restaurant on the 39th floor. Something special had happened at this week’s seminar and I decided to relax and celebrate the free evening before getting back home in the morning. For five days we had worked hard with a group of 12 executives. They all have had a great experience in this seminar. Each executive had identified their strengths, gained new perspectives and worked on aligning short and long term goals. Each of them articulated their core values and purpose and envisioned the roadmap ahead. Each person had their breakthrough moment, which made the week’s work a profound experience. Now the seminar was over and it was my time to treat myself. I decided to enjoy a special dinner and reserved the nicest table available with a view of the city. The sunsets in San Francisco can be very beautiful and this one matched my contemplative mood. David presented himself as I settled at my table: “I’ll be your waiter tonight, what can I get you started with?” He was bright and there was a happy melodic tone in his voice. I replied: “It’s a special evening, how about your favorite glass of red wine?”

Soon he was back with the wine. We selected the finest dish on the menu and started talking. He asked about the occasion and I explained about the nature of the work we had just completed. It feels good to know you have done your best. It feels great to know that your best has made a difference; that the work was impactful for people’s lives and that for a few days we were able to take a broader strategic view. These tough 24/7 pedal-to-the-metal executives allowed themselves to enter a conversation about purpose. We were able to push back pressures and find the sweet spot, where the personal and the professional are not in contradiction, where the various roles we enact are expressions of a central principle in our lives. The beauty of this process is when people discover it for themselves. Then you know something profound had happened.

It turned out David was a bit of a philosopher or at least he had done a lot of thinking about many things. As the evening progressed he would stop by and our conversation would evolve to the next topic. I watched him work his tables. He had a spring in his walk as he approached each table with great sensitivity and attunement.
“David”, I asked, as he brought the desert menu, “why are you working here? You clearly have a lot going on in you. What is your real passion?” David smiled and said. “I am a poet. In the morning I get up and write poems. That is where my passion is but it doesn’t pay the bills. So I figured I needed to have a money-making job to support what I love to do. Working here during the evening shift is a great way to pay the bills. I meet interesting people and I try to make them feel special. It’s a bit like writing a poem. Some nights I get to meet families on their special happy occasions; other nights I see a successful businessman who has everything and is sad and lonely. I try to fit my style and approach to rhyme with the person at the table I serve. Every person deserves to have a good dinner. Plus, it stimulates my creativity and gives me ideas for my poems.”

He was back with a rich chocolate cake. Looking at the bill it came to $68. Not bad for treating myself I thought. But there was one thing I felt would make it even better. I doubled it and left $136 on the table and wrote a little card for David. “This is for your poems. Keep up the good work. Blessings…”

© Aviv Shahar

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