“The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.”
“I am his favorite!”
- A paraphrase of the same verses by Morgan Snyder
In 1989, the best picture was Rain Man and the best album was George Michael’s “Faith”. Gas was 97 cents a gallon, the price of a stamp was 25 cents, and Microsoft released a revolutionary suite of office products that contained a spreadsheet and a word processor. And probably known to very few other people than her, Kathy went to work for the AutoZone store near the corner of Blanco and Basse.
Saturday morning, while replacing a battery in my wife’s car, we met Kathy. I asked her several questions while she quietly and efficiently helped us attend to our problem. But the answer that surprised me most was that she had worked for AutoZone at this same location for 30 years! In fact, on this day, when she got to work, they gave her the 30-year pin she proudly attached to her name tag.
Kathy seemed rather nonplussed about this achievement. I was not.
In my banking days, each significant anniversary, beginning with the 5th, was accompanied by a new pin with an increasingly valuable stone in the center. There was always a party, a note from the Chairman, and a lot of recognition from everyone. Anniversaries are a pretty big deal for an employee and the opportunity to celebrate this kind of tenure is becoming increasingly rare.
She asked a co-worker, John, to help us install the battery. He had his own story. He was shaken out of his retirement by the realization that he was rushing home every day at 3 PM…to watch Ellen. The reality of this disturbed him deeply. So he got back to work, frequently rides his two Harley Davidson motorcycles in the Hill Country, and spends time with his kids and grandkids.
Oh, and he didn’t know anything about Kathy’s significant anniversary.
My wife and I couldn’t shake the thought of Kathy’s story and what seemed like an underwhelming acknowledgement. When we showed up 30 minutes later with a bouquet of flowers and cupcakes to celebrate, she smiled as big as anyone I have ever seen and could barely get the words out through all her giggles.
I think she was experiencing our delight in her.
Our deepest and earliest understanding of God comes at an early age. It is largely communicated through our parents first, but it is foundational for all of our other understanding of God. It is knowing that we are unconditionally loved and delighted in. Without the deep knowledge of that delight and love, it is virtually impossible to fully receive anything else our faith affords.
I know a man who does tremendous good and works tirelessly to make a difference in his city. I also know that he can’t forgive himself for prior mistakes, doesn’t like himself very much, and rarely seems to live with any consistent joy or peace. I think it is completely related to him not fully enjoying the love and delight of his Heavenly Father.
One of the greatest things we get to do as leaders of our families or companies is to offer that essential sense of delight in those we lead. We can give others a taste of that deeper understanding of God’s love that will set the table for everything else available at the feast.
Do you know the love and delight of your Heavenly Father?
Do you think that understanding or lack of understanding was first communicated by your parents?
Do you have any Kathy’s working for you?
Who do you need to celebrate and delight in on your team or family?