Several individuals touched me recently by going out of their way to do their job well. Each was professional, sympathetic to time constraints, and thorough. There were no shortcuts. Each step in a connected process was checked and rechecked. I was struck by their response and care in the midst of numbing bureaucracy. At every step, it could have been more difficult and taken more time.
As I try to think about how to acknowledge their work, I keep coming back to a phrase relatives used when I was young. They are good people. They may be stuck in a paper intensive, do not deviate from the process or else you will not work here job, but each cares. Their hearts are good and it shows.
If you had suggested that I would find this in a government machine anywhere in the world, I would have laughed and dismissed the idea without a second thought. My experience reminds me that I can be blind to the ways Good is willing work through individuals. In a rigid framework, I found compassion and concern. In the midst of set rewards, I found individuals willing to help guide and direct.
Even though I know it is real, I am still surprised! It could not, should not happen, but it did. The evil machine was anything but. Two observations; “You’re not at all like the wicked, who are mere windblown dust -without defense in court, unfit company for innocent people.” (Psalm 1.4, 5) You are good people.
As I caught myself in the mirror this morning, I flashed back to moments where I used the excuse of policies, mandates, and directives as the rationale to not think while acting. Bluntly put, I abandoned compassion because I was told that it did not fit with being in business. I ignored the needs of others because I had to show that I was doing my job. I was a cog in a machine.
The heart of one machine has revealed itself with compassion, care, and concern. It was a defining moment.