Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Garbage Man

I lost my cell phone this week. I get so frustrated when I cannot find something that I need. My kids used to have a trick they love to play on my OCD tendencies: they take something from my neatly organized office and hide it until I cannot work anymore due to something being out of place. I simply cannot work efficiently when something is missing. Car keys, cell phones, and wallets are a particularly frustrating waste of time when searching. Sometimes it seems like the world is out to get you when you search and search and search and never find.

At one of the companies I worked for I was known for a period as the garbage man. My department "lost" sample glass that was worth millions. The sample was a special polished glass that we were coating and if successful would mean contracts in millions from this Japanese company. We finally narrowed it down to our Quality Control department who had the glass and placed it here. Here was next to a large garbage can. The garbage can was empty. I went with the garbage crew to the dumpster container at the docks. The container had been picked up 30 minutes ago by the garbage company. I called the garbage company and found the truck in route to the dump. I asked them to wait for me there and I met the truck at the dump. We went into the landfill together and I watched as he dumped the container and began to sort through the cubic yards of trash. After about 30 minutes I found a small wooden crate with Japanese shipping stickers and 50 pieces of glass inside. The garbage men were laughing and shaking their heads, the landfill bull-dozer guys were amazed and pointing at this guy in dress pants and tie going through their mountain. I cleaned up what I could and took the hour journey back to my company. I found the glass, I saved the contracts, but what I mainly got was a reputation. I was the "garbage man", I was the guy who you could count on to go to the dump for you, I was the guy who could put all of the pieces together to solve a problem, I was the guy who could get the job done, I was the guy who never gave up. I was the garbage man.

Life is frustrating, unpredictable, and even seems to be stacked against you. We are ALL missing something important and we ALL are looking for it. It may be different for each of us but we are still looking for it. In scripture the Psalms tell us that God REJOICES over those who seek him, and we will not be put to shame IF we seek him and seek him with all our heart. But the emphasis is always on the seeking and not on the finding because God is interested in the JOURNEY and not the destination. Our destinations have all been worked out already but how we handle the journey is up to us. How you handle the search and the seeking will decide your reputation, how you are remembered, and mostly define your life. I'll be remembered as the garbage man in that company. If you focus on your journey and your seeking; how will you be remembered? If you give up and let the life just happen to you; how will you be remembered? Now, where is my cell phone?

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