" A Daughter's Thanksgiving Lesson"

by Editor at Books-Empower.com

His plan was to finish this final project before noon on Wednesday. He knew that there was a long drive ahead of him after this shortened workday concluded.

He would need to pack the car and get the entire family loaded up as they traveled across the state for the traditional Thanksgiving gathering and the long weekend away from the stress of the job.

But his plan quickly began to unravel. He had spent weeks writing the very detailed, highly technical manual that would be used to finish this important project. But those employees assigned to perform the tasks just didn't seem to grasp the concept.

He had to spend most of Wednesday standing over their shoulders, correcting and redirecting their flawed efforts. It was nearly 4:00 p.m. when he finally judged the project to be completed.

He was now hours behind his carefully crafted schedule, all because those employees had to keep asking questions. They had the manual. Why couldn't they just follow it?

It only got worse when he pulled into his driveway. Nothing was organized as he had directed. He spent nearly an hour packing the car. There would be no time for dinner. They would have to settle for something from a fast food drive-thru lane now.

And to make it worse, the snow was really getting heavy now. Without a doubt there would be the inevitable bunch of "Cautious Charlies" out there, driving slowly and making the trip even longer.

It only took a couple hours to prove him right. Traffic had ground to a series of halts and slow advances. "What is the hold up?" he shouted from his driver's seat. Then he saw an ambulance moving along the shoulder on it's way to the front of the line. He could see the glare of more red strobes glistening through the snow flakes.

It took almost an hour to get past the accident. The police officers who were directing traffic looked to be very cold and wet as they worked to get the cars moving. The vehicles involved were heavily damaged. There had to be multiple injuries.

But his mind quickly returned to his own problems. He had to really make up some time now and he also had to listen to his family members asking to pull off the highway and take a break. But there would be no time for that now. His fingers showed hints of white as he tightened his grip on the steering wheel and pushed the accelerator down further to gain more speed.

It was really slippery now, but if he could just get around these "slow pokes" he could make some time. It only took a second for things to change. As he passed that last car and tried to slide back into the other lane, he hit some ice and the car went into a spin. For what seemed like minutes, but was actually just a few seconds, the car hurtled down the bank before coming to a violent stop.

After getting everyone to quiet down from their own moments of terror, he realized that no one was hurt. Then he heard a tapping sound on the window. Someone had ran, or perhaps slid down that hill to make sure they were safe. The man said, "I saw you spin out right after you passed me on the road. Is everyone OK."

This Good Samaritan helped everyone out and they surveyed the damage. Surprisingly, there wasn't much. A flat tire and a few dings. Soft snow does have some use after all.

A police officer shined his light down the hill and told them that help was on the way. He joined them near the car and helped bring the family back to the highway and suggested they wait in his warm cruiser. It took a while for the tow truck to arrive. The driver had been out in this weather all night pulling people out of the medians.

As the wrecker operator skillfully brought the car back on to the road, the shaken, but not injured driver marveled at the professionalism of the police officer and the skill of that young man working the cables on the tow truck. But even more, he stared in amazement at their attitudes. There was no grumbling, no complaining. They were working on a holiday evening in frigid temperatures and were only concerned with his family at that moment.

And that Good Samaritan was also still there. Surely he was cold too. He wasn't wearing boots. But as the car was centered back on the shoulder, this stranger jumped right in to help change the tire and clear the snow out from under the fenders. When asked why he was willing to do all this, the response was, "If my daughter was stuck along the road, I'd want someone to help her. This is the least I can do."

They were back on the road now, grateful for their good fortune. What a twist of fate. They were even farther behind schedule, but they now considered that to be a blessing.

A sign along the highway beckoned him to the next exit. This sign advertised an all-night diner. Without saying a word, he steered the vehicle right up to the door of the restaurant. There were plenty of spots to park. It was now very early on Thanksgiving morning. His family stared in wide-eyed amazement as he asked if anyone would like a break and something to eat. "What about the schedule?"

His evening of epiphanies continued when his family was greeted with a hearty welcome from both servers in the restaurant. Even the few patrons sitting around the counter offered warm "Happy Thanksgiving" greetings to these tired travelers.

As his family sat together, sharing their own feelings and fears from their spin-out, the anxiety slipped away and laughter took its place. This had certainly been an eventful night. Nothing went according to schedule, but they were safe and now a little warmer and feeling much better.

His youngest child then hit him right between the eyes with her next statement. "Dad, even though we got stuck in the snow, this has been the most fun Thanksgiving dinner ever." The wisdom of youth.

Daybreak was approaching. He was driving much slower now. But he noticed how the roads were in really good shape. He saw snow plow drivers moving up and down the road on this Thanksgiving morning, clearing away the snow.

But he saw something else. The sun was coming up. The colors were magnificent. He left for the office very early every morning. Why had he never noticed these colors before?

As he finally reached the exit that would lead them to his destination, he decided that on Monday he needed to gather his work team together. They had told him the work manual was too hard to understand and there were more effective ways to complete the same tasks. Maybe he needed to listen a little more and direct a little less?

And maybe he needed to follow the examples of service and attitude from all those who helped him on this past night. His daughter was right. "The most fun ever."

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Just below is a quote from "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson.  The chapter title is "Open Your Heart To Compassion." 

"Every day we are given hundreds of opportunities to practice compassion in action.  We can learn to be less reactive and live with more patience.

We can smile when others are serious.  We can drive our cars more carefully, pick up litter on the streets, recycle, and reduce our consumption.

We can resolve conflicts rather than create them, and we can become less judgemental and more inclusive.  When someone is aggressive, we can teach them to be more peaceful.  Instead of waiting for an example, we can be the example.

The more compassion that enters your heart, the happier and more peaceful you will become.  By knowing that you are doing your part to create a better world-whatever form that takes-you will fill any void that exists in your life, and you will begin to find the peace you are looking for."

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