Timely words

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Sometimes the words we need to hear come from the most unexpected places. I had just arrived to work and was heading into my office. Just outside, high up on some scaffolding, was Ray, a delightful, salt-of-the-earth chap who was doing some maintenance work on the building. I first met Ray the previous week in the toilet, immediately hitting it off after he made a comment about “feeling lighter” as he exited a cubicle. And so with my head raised we exchanged good mornings before he began talking — or rather shouting given his high vantage point — about the need to take breaks, particularly in roles that require sitting in front of computer all day. I concurred. And then he made a remark that hit me square on. To this day I am not sure what prompted it because it didn’t quite fit the context of our conversation — or if it did I, still waking from my early morning slumber, missed it. But anyway his words were: “Don’t beat yourself up too much.” Little did he know that I had been doing exactly that on the long 40-minute drive to work. The comment stayed with me all day, a tender and graceful refrain to the barrage of unwanted thoughts and recollections that were threatening to overwhelm me. So for toilet chats and timely words — and my new friend Ray — thank you God.

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