I work in the wedding industry. Theoretically this means that I see people at their best. My expertise is in formalwear and suit rental, so I help a lot of people for weddings, cotillions, proms; events that are considered to be pretty joyful occasions. There is a lot of pleasantness to be had, but then you get to see the opposite side of the spectrum as well. People can be rude not only to you, but will direct it to their children, significant others, parents, their friends. It seems like the best of times have the potential to bring out the worst in us.
On occasion, I also get to witness the exact opposite. Earlier today I helped a very boisterous and animated customer that needed a suit. Before I could even ask about the occasion, he volunteered that he was flying home to Jamaica so that he could bury his mother. I didn’t even get a chance to offer condolences before he cheerfully added that he wanted to make sure that he got the sharpest suit that we carried to not only honor his mother, but to also show up his cousins that would be coming down from New York. He continued to be a joyful and pleasant man throughout the entire process as we picked out styles, talked about colors and discussed his travel arrangements. Never once did he let the weight of his reason for going home weigh him down. “I have to be like this,” he told me. “If I just sit back and think about it, that’s going to take me to a different place.” He then proceeded to joke about how competitive he and his cousins were, and that he couldn’t wait to see them once they arrived. I told him about my recent trip to Chicago to honor my wife’s grandmother when she passed away, and while we did mourn her, we also spent a lot of the time laughing and joking in the way that only family could.
It’s the first day of the new year, and I had this lesson presented right to my face. Rise above your circumstances. Don’t let adversity take away your joy, and instead allow it to help you realize what matters most.