Plus and Minus

February 1, 2022- Going into a local bank to pay my monthly housing rent, I was struck that there is one teller, who tends to about 45% of the branch’s total daily business, on each of the five days that she is there. The young lady has a pleasant demeanor and is especially engaging with those who are regular customers of the bank. While her colleagues staff desks or are busy counting cash or auditing transactions, B deals with all manner of people in their moods of the moment. I have mostly seen her treated well and complimented by people in line ahead of me, as she takes a genuine interest in their affairs. I have seen her get harshly, verbally abused on occasion, for matters that were decided in board rooms and corner suites far from here and, thus, beyond her control. Of course, she had to “take ten” after such a browbeating and regroup, while people like me were feeling an almost parental pain on her behalf.

The frontpeople in our lives have suffered, sometimes in silence and sometimes standing up and retorting to their critics. The pandemic has brought this to the fore, but it has gone on for decades and centuries. The negativity of ego takes aim at even the most positive of loving souls. I have seen tons of it; probably most of us have. Disquiet, unhappy people have written or spoken diatribes, directed at everyone from the neighbourhood grocery clerk to Jesus the Christ. The aphorism, “Hurt people hurt”, says a lot, but overlooks one thing: Those who do the most good have figured out how to overcome personal attacks, or to let them slide off like water. Better, still, are those who can turn adversaries into loyal friends.

B, the teller, has a handle on this. I have managed to get to that place as well, though I was much older than she is now, before reaching it. Those who succeed in life, in the real sense of the term, are the ones who can spread this way of being to all who cross their path.

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