Monday, March 24, 2014

In Position... by Ben Hazlett

Have you ever been in the right place at the right time?  Like the cosmic aligning of the stars with Krypton and Planet Hollywood destined you to some magnificent moment.  Maybe you just happened to put your name in a drawing thinking you would never win and you did. No aligning of that sort has ever happen to me.  Or perhaps, you arrived just in time to lend a hand before a catastrophe occurred.

That actually has happened to me quite a few times. I remember one such time in college. I was running from one class to another, when I noticed a man attempting to lift his powerwheel chair into the back of his truck with a winch on a crane arm.  I felt like I should help, but as I was late already, I told myself that he had the winch and it seemed to be going just fine... and besides I was late.  As I continued passed, I had this twinge of guilt and could almost here my mom saying her favorite quip: "what do you think would be the best thing for you to do?"  So I turned and walked back.  I had no sooner gotten back to the truck when the cable snapped and the wheel chair fell right into my waiting hands. The man was barely able to stand and was fairly feeble.  This chair, though not that heavy, would have certainly been too much for him. Although I almost missed the opportunity because of my busy schedule, it felt really good to be in the right position at the right time to save the day... If memory serves, later that day, while daydreaming in my next class, I seriously considered looking into making a mask, cape, and a nifty gadget belt and taking up this hero stuff... but alas I never did.

In fact, other than not being Batman, there are probably a lot of other missed opportunities.  I think sometimes we're in position, but we don't have the skills or the vision to do what is needed.  My favorite example is in this video:

This is funny and all, but with very little retrospection, I can think of quite a few times I stood on the "escalator" and complained that I wasn't moving. These people definitely let their lack of vision impede their progress.  

To wrap up, one of my favorite stories is about two boys who find themselves together in the same position, but they have 2 very different ideas about how to respond.  Yet because they acted the way they did, they took full advantage of their position: (click here to see the video narrated by Gordon B. Hinckley)
“An older boy and his young companion were walking along a road which led through a field. They saw an old coat and a badly worn pair of men’s shoes by the roadside, and in the distance they saw the owner working in the field. The younger boy suggested that they hide the shoes, conceal themselves, and watch the perplexity on the owner’s face when he returned. The older boy … thought that would not be so good. He said the owner must be a very poor man. So, after talking the matter over, at his suggestion, they concluded to try another experiment. Instead of hiding the shoes, they would put a silver dollar in each one and … see what the owner did when he discovered the money. So they did that. Pretty soon the man returned from the field, put on his coat, slipped one foot into a shoe, felt something hard, took it out and found a silver dollar. Wonder and surprise [shone] upon his face. He looked at the dollar again and again, turned around and could see nobody, then proceeded to put on the other shoe; when to his great surprise he found another dollar. His feelings overcame him. … He knelt down and offered aloud a prayer of thanksgiving, in which he spoke of his wife being sick and helpless and his children without bread. … He fervently thanked the Lord for this bounty from unknown hands and evoked the blessing of heaven upon those who gave him this needed help. The boys remained [hidden] until he had gone.” They had been touched by his prayer and felt something warm within their hearts. As they left to walk down the road, one said to the other, “Don’t you have a good feeling?”
It has been my experience that we are in position to help a lot of people every day.  For everyone it is different, because we are all equipped with different skills.  But whether it comes as words of encouragement to a coworker who has been feeling defeated, or by shoveling your neighbor's driveway on a day they may have slipped and injured themselves... or maybe its as simple as being patient and kind while ordering food at McDonnalds after the teenage employee has had a stressful day of people upset that their "fast-food" isn't fast enough. Whatever the case, gadget belt or no, I hope that in the future I can look for and take advantage of opportunities to be IN POSITION!