I was in Kim’s office. Kim is my boss at BlenderBottle, a major business with over one hundred employees, thousands of retailers across the globe, and an un-matched brand recognition. Kim is co-owner of the company with her husband, Steve, and takes care of the day-to-day operations of the business. She is a very important, very busy person.
I got word that something was wrong with her computer, a strange problem with the keyboard not responding for several seconds or something like that. As an IT intern, it is my job to get it working the right way.
Kim’s office is of a moderate size, with windows along ¾ of the walls. Along the wall behind where she sits there are numerous framed quotes like “The Truth Will Set You Free” or “Don’t make assumptions” - she is a faithful, spiritual person and, with her husband, a devoted member of the church. Regardless, every time I step into that office, I’m nervous, because, hey! This is my boss. You’ve gotta keep up impressions when working directly with your boss. So I keep things professional, and get right to work.
I start at the problem, and she stands beside me, watching what I’m doing, interested in my work. Then, out of the blue, she asks “How’s your dad doing?”
Kim has regular interviews with my brother who also works at BlenderBottle, so I’m sure that he’s mentioned my dad’s condition to her before. And, come to think of it, she has asked me about him in the past. But this time, I was more impressed by it. Perhaps it is because at this point in my life, my feelings are more tender than usual, especially with regards to my relationships with others. I’m trying to take more notice of the dynamics of my relationships in order to bring out the best in them.
I thought to myself ‘why is it that Kim asked me that?’ I’m sure she was trying to be a good employer, but it is more than that. In that moment, even if it wasn’t the deepest I’ve ever felt it, I knew that someone cared about me. Kim has so many more things to worry about, and yet she took the time to ask me about something really important to me. I made it a point to thank her as sincerely as possible for asking.
In thinking about it since then, I’ve realized that she was just being a disciple of Jesus Christ. She took some time to show that she cared about me as an individual, just the same as Christ took time for the one. That’s one of the big differences between me and Him. I don’t care about people; He only cares about people.
Elder Bednar succinctly said
Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us. Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward. If such a capacity is indeed the ultimate criterion of moral character, then the Savior of the world is the perfect example of such a consistent and charitable character.
I’ve got some things to work on.