From the moment we get out of bed until our heads hit the pillow, our days are filled with headlines, news, information and links begging to be clicked. In some way, shape or form we’re all junkies for information, whether its sports, entertainment, politics or a Facebook news feed.
In my world I might see more headlines than most, the majority of which aren’t necessarily positive. And I don’t mean to sound trite (because God knows the word “jaded” is over-used) but I’m finding that I have become numb to such headlines that are meant to shock, make me cringe, shutter and reflect. They sort of carelessly slide right off of me like Teflon.
That’s not necessarily a good thing, you know. Our ability to feel and have empathy for others is what makes us human. When you hear about a family getting killed during a Christmas Day house fire and you’re more concerned about that wrinkle in your slacks that you can’t iron out, well, that’s alarming.
That takes me to last Tuesday. A colleague of mine walked into the office to introduce me to her new co-worker. Said colleague has worked with me for roughly five years. Outside of work – and my colleague would agree that this is a mutual assessment – I haven’t a clue about who this person really is.
That’s not to say I don’t give a damn, mind you. Think about the people you might encounter every single day, the UPS delivery person, perhaps. The second that guy walks out the door you’re back on the computer. Maybe you’re upset because the package was late. But you don’t really care how his weekend was, right?
“I’m leaving my position in February,” my colleague told me.
“I’m sorry that you’re leaving,” I sort of lied. “What will you be doing?”
And her response stopped my world for a beautiful moment.
“I’m going to become a nun,” she said matter-of-factly, as if she had just decided to order wheat bread instead of white.
I was moved, probably more than I should have been, given that I was standing next to my boss and the phone wouldn’t stop ringing. I’m almost ashamed to admit, but I became a little emotional (allergies) in my happiness for her. She’s been on my mind ever since.
Although I attended Catholic school and used to be an altar boy, I don’t know too many people my own age who have decided to become a priest or a nun. It’s just not a common choice people make. I’m intrigued with anyone who answers such a profound calling in life.
Personally I want to believe that hearing my colleague’s good news was just the sort of headline I needed to hear at a time when I was risk of becoming fully engulfed in a permanent state of Lidocaine-induced numbness and cynicism. And at a time when everyone is making resolutions for the new year, being a bit less cynical is a pretty good place to start.