Yesterday was one of those days.
I was in a rush all day long.
My morning was filled with deadlines bracketed by meetings involving great people who were waiting on me. I hate it when my schedule rolls up on my back and runs me over!
Rushing out of one meeting, realizing that I was already late for my lunch commitment, I ran smack-dab into Rock.
Rock has been my friend for almost ten years.
Where do I begin in my attempt to describe Rock?
If it’s true that a cat has nine lives, then Rock must have 99!
I know for a fact that Rock is now in at least his second life.
He crossed over around the time we first met when he came to our Food Pantry with his "grandkids" to get food assistance. The babies aren’t really his grandchildren, but he has the same as adopted them and he has done his best to care for them in very difficult circumstances. But, that is a story so personal and so touching that I will leave it alone.
In his first life Rock was a successful “business man.” That is, if you count selling crack cocaine as a business. Rock enjoyed wealth, power and lots of respect back “in the day.”
It also almost killed him, literally.
Rock’s body bears the scars of numerous gunshot wounds.
Some of the stories he has to share will curdle your blood and make your hair stand on end. The amazing thing is he can talk about these experiences today with laughter, now that he has survived them.
His health is not the best, but he is working on it.
He called me last week and asked if he could come by to discuss a personal matter. I said sure and he told me he would be by at some point.
Rock arrived during my first meeting and decided to wait on me. He caught me in a dead run to my car as I tried to get to my lunch meeting.
Rock just couldn’t understand my rush.
He followed me out the door as we made arrangements for him to come back the next day to finish up on the personal matter that I assured him we could work through.
As I made it to my car, trying not to be overly rude, Rock looked me in the eye and said, “Larry, this place is getting too corporate.”
That stopped me in my tracks.
“You know, we been through a lot together, man,” he continued.
“You need to slow down and catch up with me. We need to talk. This place has meant too much to me for us to lose touch!”
I told him he was correct. We talked for a moment, promised each other to “hook up” tomorrow and I was off.
At lunch I shared his wisdom with my friends who understood completely—both my crazy day and my friend’s advice and plea.
But all day I’ve been thinking about Rock.
He is correct, of course.
I need to simply accept his counsel and make time for what is really important—no excuses or explanations. When you’re busted, you’re busted!
No matter how much our organization grows, no matter what we do or think we need to do to improve on our performance, it will all be a waste if we can’t see, hear and connect with one another at the level of the street and the sidewalk.
Rock is right.
He is a dear and wise friend.
And I still have a lot to learn.