Upon returning to the office from a client visit a few days before Thanksgiving, I was greeted by our dear Mrs P with what sounded like a warning. Fully aware of our company’s policy to have our office staff provide our caregivers all the support they requested, Mrs P reported to me that she thought she had broken the pledge that afternoon by admonishing a colleague with unusual impatience, “bordering on a complete lack of empathy and courtesy” she confessed as if anticipating a reprimand.
Mrs G, an extraordinarily skilled caregiver, had called the office that particularly hectic afternoon with yet another one of her increasingly nerving “situations”. Like many of Mrs G’s frequent calls, this one also involved a seemingly urgent issue that required immediate attention. Like in prior instances, the reality was that there was no issue that couldn’t be resolved on the spot by Mrs G if she only chose to address it herself rather than to complaint about it. Mrs P had enough of that and she let Mrs G know it in no uncertain terms. “The truth is” Mr P told her co-worker, “you just forget that you have it so good!”
The next morning, when the caller ID showed that it was Mrs G on the phone, everyone in the office thought that she was calling to report the recent exchange. Instead, to our surprise, she asked for Mrs P and after apologizing to her, Mrs G thanked her for “putting things in a very revealing perspective”.
To say that 2020 was a challenging year will always be a major understatement. People lost their jobs, their businesses, their health, their loved ones, even their lives. I am sure each of us know someone who did. Forget about why for a moment and focus on the fact that it happened to someone you know and that if you are reading this, you, like I, have plenty to be grateful for.
That is exactly what the year 2020 was also about. Along with all the disruption and pain, the year brought with it a sober and comforting reminder of the value of simple but often forgotten things. More than anything, and more than ever, its ups and downs, and downs contributed to restoring the perception of the fundamental role that this place called home has in our lives, and in our society as a whole. For that too we can be grateful.
So, thanks to 2020 and to Mrs P for helping put things in perspective. Also, thanks to 2021 for having arrived so very punctually. May this be a happy new year for all!
The Discretely column by Eduardo Berdegué is published monthly in newspapers throughout the Heart of Texas region.