Almost everyone is in agreement that 2020 has been a bizarre and extremely stressful year.
It’s probably one of the few things we can agree on.
Stress has been at an all-time high for most of us for a variety of reasons. A recent movie starring award-winning actor Russell Crowe entitled “Unhinged” focused on what a buildup of stress can do. The tagline of “He Can Happen To Anyone” shows how many of us have to struggle to keep our emotions in check.
Life overall has been stressful for me in recent years. Some health issues coupled with multiple jobs changes have been issues I have had to deal with. I admit at times I haven’t dealt with them well.
I’m fortunate that I have a rock-solid family support system which has helped me deal with 2020 and even previous years. Not are all that fortunate.
Despite the stress-overload, a recent incident at one of my multiple places of employment helped me realize maybe things are not all bad.
At this job management made an area on one of the bulletin boards in the lunchroom so associates could write something they enjoyed about working there. I didn’t pay the board much attention at first.
Once it began to fill up, however, I made it a point to read what had been written. Some items focused on job benefits and others focused on their favorite supervisor or manager.
One day while performing my job duties a co-worker asked me if I had seen what was written about me on the board. I told them I had not. “You should look when you get a chance.”
The short, simple note quickly jumped out to me. It had not been there the previous time I read the items other co-workers had written.
It read: “Chris Bridges. Kind and Courteous. Reminds me of my late father.”
I read those words and then read them again. I scanned them for a third time, maybe just making sure I hadn’t missed a punch line somewhere. Someone actually wrote this about me.
While the items written on the board are anonymous, I had to find out who wrote it. That was pretty high praise and one that I was not really sure I deserved, especially comparing me to someone’s father.
After asking around no one knew who had written it. On the day before Thanksgiving, however, a young co-worker asked me if I had seen what had been written. I told them I had and how much I appreciated it. Certainly, I would never compare myself to anyone’s father, especially a father of a young person who had already passed away.
The co-worker told me I always greeted them in a positive way and didn’t act like I was better than her or anyone else. She said my words of “be careful when you leave the store at night” let her know someone cared.
“My father told me that all the time,” my co-worker said.
Compliments of this nature certainly don’t happen all the time but this one seemed to happen just when I really needed to hear a positive message.
It made me think how I had somehow made a positive impact on someone. Most of us are our own worst critics. That is certainly true for myself.
When we are complimented, we tend to shrug it off as not true or as not being worthy. I told myself not to downplay it. It was meant as a compliment and I needed to accept it.
In the stress-filled year that has been 2020, a few kinds words can certainly go a long way. On the day before Thanksgiving I was reminded of that in a way that certainly put a smile on my face.
Chris Bridges is a former sports editor for The Covington News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.