Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Badges We Wear

It was a Friday night. We had a packed house, packed patio and 40 people waiting in the foyer. On nights like this I tend to become robotic, just going through the motions as fast as possible.

"Hi, my name is Jack! I'll be your server tonight. What can I get you to drink?"

"Have you found something you'd like to eat or would you like a few more minutes?"

And yada yada it goes until I drop the check, ring in the tip and wipe down the table. I was just hitting my stride when I look down under a recently vacated table to find a girl scout badge lying on the floor amongst the smashed fries, chips and crayons. My first reaction was to grab it and run out the door, but I had been slow to clean the table off and knew these people were long gone. I was initially upset simply because the little girl had left a badge she surely worked hard to earn. It must be important to her.

As I climbed in to my car later that night and drove the long quiet country roads home, I got to thinking about the badges we strive to earn throughout life and how easily they are tossed carelessly to the wayside. It may not be something physical like a "World's Best Dad" pin but a title, position or even a relationship. It's something we're all guilty of. We work so hard to achieve certain goals or make promises we intend to keep and yet, are so easely distracted. How many people shed their badges of honesty and integrity and neglect the God given morals we should be pinning proudly to our lapels? How many have hung their uniforms of responsibility turning their backs on life long commitments? I looked out into the darkness ahead, seeing only the 30 feet my old headlights could illuminate, and promised myself to cherish my achievements and stand by what I believe in. After all, we can't afford to leave pieces of who we are behind when we don't know what the future holds.

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