February 15, 2011

back on the rack

people are like coats.

you go into a store to buy a coat. you search and search and finally find one that you like. it's completely unique, but expensive. it's exactly what you need, but purchasing it is intimidating. you look around the store and realize that it's the only one of its kind.

so the contemplation begins. you pick up the coat off of the rack. you admire it. you might even go as far as to take it off of the hanger and try it on. you model it in the mirror. and you may even put it back on the rack only to remove it again for further evaluation.

maybe it doesn't fit or maybe it's made for a different season. maybe it's too expensive and not worth the cost. maybe it's "dry clean only" and you don't have the time or effort for such maintenance. maybe it has a few buttons missing or the sleeves are too long. maybe you just aren't sure it's the one for you and feel like when you find the one that is, you'll just know. maybe you just want to feel completely certain before making a purchase. but for whatever reason, you put it back on the hanger and place the hanger back on the rack.

and right as you place the hanger back on the rack, BOOM. you see two hands grab the coat a split second after you put it down. you weren't even aware that anyone else was watching or even around you, but now the coat is being admired by another set of eyes and another pair of hands.

and suddenly, the coat looks good. suddenly you see beauty and potential in the coat that you never saw before. and your internal sound system starts playing in your head, "don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone? they paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

and then the jealously and anger come. what is that person doing touching your coat? what gives him or her the right to what was clearly in your possession just moments ago? and the conversation happens, "um, yeah, hi. i saw that coat first, and i wasn't done looking at it just yet." followed by, "oh, really? because i just saw you put it back on the rack, and i'm pretty sure you didn't want it."
and the arguing continues, but no matter how much you argue about it, you know deep down that you let the coat go. that you decided it wasn't for you. that you didn't care enough at the time to keep it. that you set it free to any potential outcome. that it now belongs to someone else.

when you put the coat back on the rack, you didn't think about another person snatching it up. you didn't think about having to watch someone else wear your coat. you didn't think another person would bring out the beauty in the coat that you just couldn't see. you didn't think about that coat being the only one of its kind, unique and irreplaceable. and you're left to wait and see if the current evaluator will put the coat back down, providing you a chance to reclaim it.

and so is life. that guy you dumped suddenly looks really good when he's dating that other cute, little girl who happens to be your friend. that girl you never gave a chance looks much more appealing as a beautiful wife and mother of 3. that friend who annoyed you doesn't seem quite as annoying when surrounded by a group of laughing and smiling friends. that employee that you fired looks much more promising as the vice president of your rival company. and no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to avoid the what-ifs and the what-might-have-beens.

but there don't have to be what-ifs or what-might-have-beens when we realize that every person wants a chance and when we're willing to give that chance. the chance to be chosen. to be admired. to be modeled with in the mirror. to be different. to be special. to be given attention. to be given consideration. to be the one-of-a-kind coat on the rack.

and every person looks better when given faith. when believed in. when respected. when loved. people start shining. they light up. they glow. they become the most beautiful versions of themselves and more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. and if we don't give them that faith and belief, someone else eventually will, potentially to our regret and remorse.

our mistake is made when we carelessly put people back on the rack.

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