Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Lesson for This Week

I've been given a bunch of new cases. I'd been whittling my caseload down but now I'm back up to 60. These cases are called "list" cases because they're chosen for specific reasons (from within a huge pool of potential respondents). These were listed because, mostly, they're in the highest income brackets in the country. We're talking the wealthiest of the wealthy. I have two international celebrities in my caseload and several heads of major corporations and a whole lot of inherited wealth. Mansions, gates and a full staff are the norm. Many of these people I will get nowhere near, their handlers making the decision to not disturb them about this survey. It would be a major coup if I so much as spoke with one of the celebrities to get them to turn me down in person.

I'm dealing with a lot of my own issues about wealth. A couple of days ago, I was attempting to contact a couple of heads of industry at their downtown offices. I parked and was walking the 4 blocks to one of the offices when I passed a homeless man who asked me if I had any change so he could get a bite to eat. I gave him a couple of dollars and we talked a bit. He told me his name is John and asked mine. When I told him, he said his mother's name is "Mary" and showed me my name on his knuckles. He said his mother is on her death-bed. He was very nice and we shook hands when I left. I walked two more blocks and went up in the private elevator to another world; a world of rich men and the professional women who serve them by protecting and insulating them.

I am so intimidated by wealthy people and their staff. I feel like it's obvious that I don't belong. I don't know the protocol, don't know what's expected, feel like a phony and am sure that I'll be called out at any time. When I step back and question why I am able to see "That of God" in the homeless man but not in the secretary to a powerful man, I gain perspective. She is a person just doing her job. The wealthy man is just a man with the same fears and needs as anyone else. When I can think of what George Fox said about not treating anyone as a means to and end but as his (or her) own end, it helps. We're all spiritual beings having a physical experience and when I can remember that about each of us, I am better able to begin to open myself to that of God in me.

Which doesn't help me know which door to enter or how to get through a locked gate but it does help me to know that those moments of frustration or embarrassment are transient and unimportant. What is eternal is what is true and the more I am able to keep that in my head the more I allow God to guide me.

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