Thursday, March 20, 2014

Smartest Person in the Room

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

I recently read one of those “40 things you should know to improve your life” or some other ridiculousness and this quote was on the list.  I usually dismiss most of what those things say, but that one really struck me.  I am a competitive person and I come from an intellectual family, so you can imagine that being the “smartest person in the room” has always been an aspiration for me.  I don’t think I ever have actually been the smartest person, per se, aside from times I have been the only adult in a room of toddlers.

As I tend to always relate things to faith, Christianity, church, etc. I immediately thought of the goal that many of us (especially the competitive types) have to be the most biblically knowledgeable person in the room, or in our circle, or on the internet, etc.  Maybe biblically knowledgeable isn’t always the goal.  Maybe we want people to see us as the most godly, or the most spiritually mature, or the one who has it all figured out, or the expert on whatever fill-in-the-blank crusade we’re on at the moment.  None of those are necessarily bad things, some are worthy and lofty and GOOD goals… except for the idea that we need to be the one at the top.

I am so guilty of this.  I don’t want to be, but I am.  I realized a few years ago that I am a competitive person and it infiltrates all aspects of my life.  Being competitive, I guess, doesn’t have to be a bad thing but it often, maybe always, leads to pride.  Yes, I want to be the smartest, the most godly, the expert, the best… and why?  Wanting to be smart, godly, knowledgeable, and good – those are wonderful.  But add that superlative and it becomes pride.

I had a conversation a few years ago with a friend.  We were talking about politics, but what he said is pretty universal.  He said something along the lines of this, “Instead of trying to always convince others that I’m right, I would rather actually be right.”  I am not quoting him well, but I think you get what he was saying.  If we walk into the room thinking we are the smartest in the room – or even if we actually are – we are not in a position to learn.  Entering a conversation thinking that you have all the answers leaves no room for you to actually get all the answers.  Sometimes we are in a position to teach others, and that might put us in a more knowledgeable position about what we are teaching, but if you enter those situations thinking that it is an opportunity for others to learn from all your knowledge, it closes your mind to the idea that it can be an opportunity for you, as well.

As I said before, I am guilty of this.  Next time I find myself being the most ________ (whatever) in the room, I need to either humble myself enough to realize it’s  an opportunity for me, as well, or I need to change rooms to one filled with people  ________er than me.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Best Friend's Baby OR The Biggest Surprise of My Life

Last week, my best cousin, Rachel, asked me if I would be off work on Wednesday and if I would like to hang out with her.  It was kind of random, but we were way overdue for some one-on-one girl time.  She said that her mother-in-law would have the kids for a couple hours and we could hang out.  I made sure my schedule was clear and penned her in.  She said to be at her house around 9 a.m.  Wow, does she know me?  Why would I want to get up in time to be across town that early on a day off!?!  I asked her if she had something in mind, or were we just gonna veg out at her house, or what?  She said she had something in mind, but it was a surprise.  And she knows we're on a budget, so she assured me it wouldn't cost me a dime.

A surprise for me?  It's not even my birthday!?  We used to celebrate Valentine's Day together, so I thought maybe this would be our Valentine's "date."  My mind starting wondering what in the world she would have planned so early in the morning.  I told Jake about it and he thought that sounded exciting.  In the next few days, I mentioned it to my mom and she was curious, too!  We decided it had to be pedicures or something like that.  What else would she use to surprise me that required an appointment?

Wednesday came and she texted me that morning and told me that I didn't have to hurry - our appointment got moved to noon. AHA!  We DID have an appointment somewhere!  Yup, pedicures for sure.  No doubt.  There just weren't any other possibilities in my mind, but sweet!  My toes need it bad!  I remember looking at my feet and getting frustrated because I had just torn one of my big toenails and the pedicure lady would probably have a hard time making it look good. lol

I get to her house early enough that we just sit around and watch a talk show for a few minutes, catch up on life in the past week, etc.  Around 11:30 she asks if I'm ready for my surprise.  Yeah!  We start heading to south Arlington, then I start getting confused.  She had to pass at least 25 nail salons and I was getting more and more confused.  We get off the highway by a shopping center and I think there must be a salon there.  Maybe she got a groupon?  Nope, passed the shopping center.  She looks at one of two office buildings and mentions how she needs to check the address again.  She does that, and then heads towards one.  We had to pull a U-turn at a hospital entrance to get to the building and I joking asked her if I was having a baby and she's surprising me with it?

So we start walking into the building and I just keep saying, "I have no idea!  It's not even my birthday!" and I'm thinking she is taking me to some ticket broker's office because she got me Opening Day tickets... or maybe we're getting massages... or they really DID win the lottery and she's taking me to get my "best friend bonus" as she calls it.  Seriously, these were all thoughts going through my head. We're still walking in and Rachel says, "Maybe we're going to see someone that works in this building?"  Okay, so then I start racking my brain trying to think of some "blast from the past" friend that would be working in Arlington that Rachel has contacted.  I was coming up blank.

We walk into this place and the door said something about Imaging.  I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm not much of a details person.  It really takes me a moment or two to take in what's going on around me sometimes.  And before I tell you what happens next, I need to tell a story about how my brain works.

Sometimes when I am caught in an unexpected moment, I have a LITERAL split second where I have very irrational thoughts.  One time, when Brick was a puppy, I went to have him groomed.  When I picked him up, he had bows in his hair.  They were blue, but still.  He's a boy.  I told them I didn't like the bows, so they took them out.  He was so happy to see me, and licked me all over like nobody's business, but that was his first groom so he looked really different.  I was holding him and as I started to walk to my car, I looked down and noticed that his... um... "boy parts" were gone.  I did not immediately think, "Oh hey, they gave me the wrong dog." For a split second, I thought, "Oh my goodness, how do I handle this?  They cut off his thing!  But it doesn't look like he's hurt?!  What do I do?"  Yes, seriously, that is the thought that ran through my head.  It took the rest of that second to realize that wasn't my dog and I went and got my boy (who had a bandana on and was fully intact, by the way).

Okay, back to my story.  So, we are walking in the Imaging place and I notice a TON of pictures of newborns on the wall. It looks like a photographer's studio.  I'm thinking "Wow, Gracie is too old for these pictures.  Are we here to get our pictures made?  I'm still confused."  Rachel is all smiles because she thinks I've figured it out by now.  Um, no.  We walk up to the receptionist.  I overhear her say something to Rachel "...pre-natal care..." My irrational nano-second thought is, "Am I pregnant and she's the one surprising me with the news?  How does she even know?" HA! My eyes must have been as big as saucers when we sit down and I hit Rachel on the arm and say, "Wait, you're pregnant?!?!"  She says yes and laughs at me.  Not only is she pregnant, but she has been pregnant for so long that we were there at her sonogram appointment to find out the gender!  I was so stinkin' excited.  I have never seen a sonogram before, so I was STOKED to experience it.  While we waited on her appointment, though, I could not stop laughing and saying, "I thought we were getting pedicures!"  It was definitely the comedy hour for the waiting room and the most surprised I have EVER been!! :)

Oh, by the way, she's having a BOY!  Nolan Christopher Taylor will be making his appearance in early September! :)