I recently attended a work-related training conference.
Like most training conferences, the final assignment for those who attended was to fill out an evaluation sheet. As I read through the questions and began the process of filling in the blanks, the “What if ...” thought came to me: What if, at the end of this life when we show up at the Pearly Gates, St. Peter hands us an evaluation sheet and asks us to fill it out.
Now that would be interesting.
I wondered what that evaluation form would ask. Looking down through the form in front of me, I figured it wouldn’t be much different:
1. What are the things you liked best about this training conference?
I got to spend it with some pretty amazing people. Some of them called me Mom, one called me Honey, two called me Daughter, a handful called me Sister, and a few called me Friend.
2. What didn’t you like about this conference?
There were a few people I could have done without. But since the purpose of this conference was not only to figure out how to get along with others, but to actually learn to love them, it was probably a good thing to be here with all kinds of people.
3. List in order the three presenters from whom you learned the most.
The homeless man with no gloves, the parking cart collection kid with thick glasses, and the mom from Japan.
4. Explain why you chose those three presenters.
That homeless man didn’t say a word when I handed him my brand new gloves. He just looked at me kind of dazed, pulled them on, and kept walking. You may remember that at first I indignantly thought he was ungrateful. But then someone (maybe you or someone you know) tapped me in the brain and asked if I gave the gloves for my benefit or for his. That experience totally changed the way I think about helping others.
The parking cart kid never complained about cleaning up people’s carts and returning them to the store so people could drag them back out again for him to clean up. He always smiled. And then that one evening he was helping me load my groceries into my car in the pouring rain and I accidentally dropped my keys, you’ll remember how he dropped to his knees in a puddle and fished them out from under my car for me. I really hope that kid has some special place up here. I’d be glad to do yard work for him or something. He taught me more about serving others than any sermon ever did.
You know the mom from Japan. She’s the one who devoted her entire life to helping her two handicapped sons make it through college. She took them to school every day, helped them through their classes, helped them get their homework done, and took care of their every need. Thank you for letting me know her. Whenever I thought my motherhood role was too hard, I just glanced over at her and got really humbled, really fast. In fact, thank you for a lot of remarkable moms in my life. I had so much to learn.
5. What changes will you make from what you’ve learned at this conference?
There are so many I don’t think I can name them all. But I’ll bet you plan to help me.
6. Do you have any other comments?
Just thanks for letting me come. And for letting me stay so long. The longer I stayed, the more I realized how much I really didn’t know. And when I finally got to the point where I learned how to judge people less and love them more, that was a real hallelujah moment for me.
Ummm, is it alright to say that up here?
You can contact D. Louise Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.