Sustenance: Relationships

People amaze me.  Sometimes that amazement is inspiring!  Recently, it was the department store clerk who, on my behalf, called every level of her supervisors to my aid to make my transaction work.  She did it in a way that let me know immediately that she was advocating for me, and this not quite 5 foot tall woman took on three much taller supervisors for not responding to me more quickly.  Though I had to wait for nearly a half hour on a 2 minute transaction, I left feeling like I had been taken care of.  The clerk and I are not friends, but in the way that she worked, as herself, for me, with a sense of the common good, it sustained me.  She also sustained her store owner’s business.  I will return there again because of her alone.

Human beings act as, act for, and act with.  We do these things with intent and awareness or not.  We act, in everything that we do, AS someone.  We may act as one who is powerless or as one who is able.  We may act as some mask that we learned to wear, or we may act as our true essence.  That is what sustains us in relationships.

We human beings act for some purpose. The purpose may be an object (a pay check), an ideal (service) or an experience (connection with others).  The purpose may involve all three.  Actions that sustain us in relationships involve all three.

We human beings act with some sense of context.  The prevailing context in the West for a long time as been the individual self.  By default we ask “what’s in it for me” and mutter to ourselves:  “I’m taking care of myself and getting out of here,” as if there’s anywhere else to go!  What sustains us in relationships is the human being who acts out of a sense of the common good.

I want to be that kind of human being, who acts as my authentic self; who acts for multiple purposes; and who acts out of a sense of the common good.   I want to be that kind of human being always because every time I’ve encountered that kind of human being in another, it has sustained me.

Bob Patrick

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