Pure grace

Amid the gloom of recent times I found something to warm my heart.

I had a close talk to the manager of my shop last week informing her of the state of play – basically how I was looking for a partner, how that may impact on the operation of the business, and the present parlous state of affairs. She’s a woman of strong virtue. In ways she’s tough-minded and combative, reputedly a typical trait from the part of Vietnam she comes from. She’s also very honest and hard-working. We have a pretty close relationship. I respect and trust her like few others, and she thinks I’m a great guy. I wanted her to be aware of the situation because of that respect, and because I trust her judgement. She was very sympathetic.

On Thursday I paid her salary by direct deposit. Last night she rang to tell me she didn’t want the money and would be returning it. She’s worked hard for her wage, and typically gone above and beyond. To then turn around and say don’t worry about it was an act of extreme generosity. Pay me when you can, she said, and when I went to object she cut me off, again and again. She is cutting down her hours, but promises to continue the logistical work she does for me each week, for no charge. “I want to do it,” she said.

I’ve since discovered that another has decided to work for nothing. It seems ridiculous – it was meant to be a secret I wasn’t supposed to learn of. The mix of feelings in me is strange. I feel deeply embarrassed, but also uplifted. I feel humble, grateful, and above all lucky to have such fine people working for me. I have no choice but to accept their decision for now, though I will make it up to them. They tell me that I’m a good boss that they’re happy to help out. That makes me proud somehow, and determined that when the situation resolves I will be that good boss and more to them.

Grim as the situation sometimes appears, there are moments of pure grace. It’s good to know. I have to make it work, for them as well as me.

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