I'd been working hard all week trying do better at slowing down and focusing. Although it sounds like an oxymoron, I realize that my Blackberry conditioned hair trigger response to incoming stimuli is counterproductive in terms of efficiency. I have to learn to calm my brain and focus on the task at hand in order to get beyond the immediate influx.
So at lunchtime on Friday when I had a couple of errands to run--a trip to the post office, and to the florist to order some flowers for a sick colleague, I thought it efficient to type out the name, address and phone number, as well as the encouraging message to accompany the flowers, with the names of our each of our team. It was printed out in large font to make it easy for the person placing the order.
It was invigorating to step out into the fresh fall air and bright sunshine. The small town of Bradford was bustling with traffic and busy shoppers getting ready for the Thanksgiving weekend.
I briefly paused at the florist's window to admire the fashion accessories and gifts for sale, then entered the store, which was filled with tastefully displayed floral arrangements, mirrors, and home decorating accents.
From towards the back, where she was working on something at a counter, a young girl in jeans and a baseball cap, called, "I'll be right there!"
I unfolded the piece of paper as she finished her task and walked over to the sales counter.
When she began to ask for the details, I presented the cheerful girl with the piece of paper and she began to copy the information into the computer. I was sure that she did it several seconds faster than if I had had to give each piece of information one by one! :)
Then she said, "Would you like to write on one of those?" pointing to the rack of little cards for various occasions, "We can attach it to the flowers. Or, we can just put the names on the piece of paper that has the address on it for when the flowers are delivered."
Of course the second option seemed very impersonal now that she mentioned it, so I picked out a card and began transcribing the greeting and our names. And she began to present a range of other options.
"What time would you like these delivered?" and she had a number of choices, from right away, to later in the day, to tomorrow.
I knew that the co-worker they were going to would very likely be asleep in the afternoon, having been at the hospital overnight, so I settled on late afternoon.
"If nobody answers the door, would you just leave the flowers?" I asked.
"Oh, yes, we can!" she said, and went on, "We can leave them inside the door, if there's a door that isn't locked; or on the porch if the door is locked and it isn't windy. We can put them inside the garage, if the door opens, and then we'll put a note on the outside so they'll know that they are inside the garage. Or in an alcove if we can find one, and we would put a note telling them there are flowers there, or we can put them in the backyard if we can get over the fence and again we will leave a note."
I thought that at any moment the roof would come into play! My head was spinning, dazzled with the determination to deliver. And in the space of listening to the stream of options I went from a focus on efficiency with my piece of paper, to slowing down and enjoying the moment; smiling to myself at the extreme lengths that this young lady would go to in order to make sure the flowers were found.
I looked into the face beneath her baseball cap, eyes bright with enthusiasm, cheeks flushed with joy in the job, and I said, my own eyes twinkling with merriment, "You have a plan!"
"Oh, yes!" and she went on, "We will even leave them at a neighbour's, but not a neighbour they don't get on with, because (she lowered her voice conspiratorially,) we wouldn't want that!"
It was one of those funny moments when you sense that God is laughing with you or maybe gently at you, and certainly enjoying himself.
Well, that's how it felt to me as I smiled back at, the Girl With a Plan for Every Eventuality.