What if I just want to be really good at what I do today? Is that enough?
What if I want to be a top notch chef, but only in my own kitchen? The local fair is good enough for my crafts, I don’t want to publish a book, I am happy creating new clothing styles for myself, and I want to build a muscle car for my son and not win a prize at the local car show? Is that enough?
I forget about her until Monday mornings. About three hours into the work day things start to settle down and get quiet. I settle into my work routine and start to get into a nice work flow. My mind and body are in shock. Did another weekend really just go by that fast? Am I really back to work? The wear and tear of the daily routine makes my body ache. A feeling of melancholy starts to overcome me until I hear the metal on her fingers hit the handle of the mop.
She is quiet and does her job. Your first impression might be skewed because of her role in the company. You might consider her partially shaven head a confirmation of which rung on the totem pole she is on. You might overlook her unique style. She’s put together. I almost missed it until I noticed the Superman sneakers that matched the Superman belt that went so nicely with the grey and red t-shirt, cuffed jeans, and black jewelry. I almost missed it because she carries a mop in her hand.
She is in and out of offices all day. She wants to visit and say hi, but most people shrug her off. They have real work to do. Even in the hallway people walk by her as if she was invisible. She’s just a part of the cleaning crew.
I say hi and smile as she enters my office. I am thankful for the interruption. As she enters the room I am reminded of how I truly enjoy our visits together. She always smiles and if you ask her how her weekend was she responds instantly with the most intriguing stories. The minute she begins to talk I get chills down my spine. It’s like opening a jack in the box. You never know what is going to pop out.
I remark that I like her shoes and she smiles. She explains how she put the outfit together. It wasn’t an accident. It was a creative endeavor to look nice. She bought the shoes at a yard sale, and the other pieces she collected from thrift stores and hand me downs.
I ask her how her weekend was and she shows me a picture of a large steak she prepared. It was draped with real butter. She managed to create that nice puddle of butter/fat to spoon up and lather over the steak as it cooked. It was a master piece. One of many. She has regaled me with stories of Crème Brulee, pork loin with coffee and vanilla bean sauce, and salmon entrée’s. This woman is a chef. It shouldn’t surprise me, but it does.
This week she told me more stories. She told me about a sister who has struggled with drug addiction, how in the midst of her latest cooking tirade she was confronted with the news that the police were next door at her nephew’s house for a drug raid. Her sister just escaped and in doing so avoided hard jail time. “My sister would have been in trouble if she hadn’t gotten out when she did. It’s a good thing she went to deliver my dying brother a meal”. Yes, it is a good thing.
What if I don’t want to be famous?
This woman has something many people don’t. She has a job she enjoys, a family she loves, and amazing talent. At first she seems like someone who belongs in the back woods country of America, but I see someone who has the talent of a top chef. She loves food and cooks amazing meals. She loves her job and pours her creative talent into putting together outfits that reflect who she is. She’s unaware of the creative world that exists online, in museums, among college students, and the creative elite. She doesn’t know who is famous and she doesn’t care.
What if what she wants to do is use her talent, time and abilities to create something great in her life? To provide her sister care and healing. To nurse her brother into good health. Is that enough? I think it is if that’s where her heart and passion is. What matters is that she creates and expresses her talent in a way that fits who she is.
What’s beautiful is that she does it as an unknown and for the pure joy it brings to her daily life.