I’ve so many thoughts pinging in my head, and making me dizzy …but where to touch down?
“There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” Maya Angelou.
Those crippling memories of my first book flop, haunt my mind relentlessly. But I mustn’t dither now, just get on with it, and start again…a small voice prompts…
It was with great difficulty that I tried to cope with my frequent illnesses, over the past few years…finally someone listened. The X-ray called for more checks; osteoarthritis in the lower back. Now that I’m able to walk again with the aid of more amazing pills, I’m going to push through my melancholic/phlegmatic nature – which so easily takes hold – and get up.
I miss my mom. Heaven awaits.
God is sovereign, keep tuning in…
Remembering times of being useful helped too. So here goes.
I’m thinking of my very first job working behind a counter. Ouch what a come down from my cosmetic buyer role in an office. Now, after my divorce, I was on full display to the public. Completely out of my comfort zone. But it was a job.
The position was in a large departmental store in Cape Town. In the quiet, men’s department. The counter was small with two people handling the whole show. The delightful young man working for a huge American corporation, which sold gorgeous men’s fragrances and treatments. The first company I think to introduce men’s facial and body creams and potions. The very same company I was a buyer for in Johannesburg, so I was familiar with the products. I think also, he was the first man to hold such a role. The other half of the counter was where I came in, selling all local and international fine fragrances for men.
We were a great team. He taught me everything and was super kind to me; treated me like a mom actually. He lovingly hovered around me when customers approached and asked for things I’d not heard of, I gratefully allowed him to discuss the product for me. He was very protective, and always stood up for me. His half of the counter was flourishing, due to his excellent sales pitch. Something I knew nothing of. This young man was talented and loved fashion, and knew what was new and hot off the press, so to speak. He was a gay fellow, who lived with his mom. She taught him to sew, which encouraged him to make his own clothes, a natural for glamour and fashion. He used to help her as a youngster, with all her sewing orders, fitting everything. He was lovely and tall and well built, with a sharp wit and a hilarious sense of humour.
I was so fond of that caring young man. He showed immense maturity and compassion for my lowly situation, that of a single parent with tremendous hardships. And my being an early Christian, I was yet to learn that the trials and sufferings on our journey through life, always teach us something. And, we learn the most at those times. We are focussed yes, but also anxious to overcome it. And with Gods help we do. Provided we stay tuned in to Him who is sovereign, and has allowed the trial to happen especially to conform us to his Son Jesus Christ. My new friend with his genuine care helped build me up again, and was a blessing to me.
Just what I needed.
There were many young black men coming to the counter, who were also keen to try new things. And like me, hadn’t heard of the men’s perfume names.
I became acutely aware of their shyness and hesitation of how to go about things. New fragrances were coming out weekly and they wanted to be in the know too.
But how could they? If they didn’t even know how to ask for it. I’d notice them standing at a distance trying to read (if they could) the name – or even just to point to the bottles. My heart broke for them, knowing exactly what they were going through. Feeling embarrassed about not knowing something, and never daring to ask, to avoid being mocked or laughed at for not knowing.
I started putting a few testers on the counter, for them to come and pick up a bottle and try it out. Which was a start. Until the managers complained about leaving them out in case of theft.
Then I came up with another idea. I went out and bought a small, colourful tin tray to put on top of the counter, and displayed a few popular and new fragrance testers on it. The customers flocked around gathering information, enjoying the opportunity of trying new products. They soon learned how to pronounce them with confidence and the word spread. We were off!
My sales rocketed to the amazement of all the clients I dealt with. The big cheeses from Chanel came down from Johannesburg to see for themselves. The tiny counter that was beating sales all over the country! But the colourful tin tray simply did not do! Chanel replaced it with a lovely silver one. So ever since then tester trays became the greatest tools in the Fragrance world.
My ability to sell wasn’t the issue. It’s how you treat people that garners sales.
Jesus taught me. He turned all my pain and humiliation of my past into a many good uses. I recognized suffering in others and wanted to fix it.
Matthew 7:12. …treat people the same way you want them to treat you… I yearned for people to be patient with me as a child, and teach me things I couldn’t understand. But I learned never to ask.
The popular saying, that only clever people ask questions, never rang true with me.
Growing up in South Africa, of course there was racism. But after becoming a Christian I learned man was made in God’s image. We’re all the same, but many wrongs were committed.
I understood that my prospective customers, had walked for miles, hours even, to get to work. Out of necessity, due to the locations they were placed. Miles away from anything. Public transport was pitiful if not non-existent. Their home life was nothing like most whites. There might have been a tin bath with cold water, and then have to share with many others in the early hours of a dark morning.
After hours of walking – often running, brought on massive perspiration for which they were often mocked. Their jobs probably demanded being on their feet most of the day doing heavy work, and on an empty stomach.
I was an anxious person growing up, suffering with tension headaches and frightened of everything. I perspired terribly which was most embarrassing, with hideous dark patches under the arms on my clothes. When I started work at fifteen years of age, I soon learned about anti-perspirants and cheaper scents, in the beginning. As soon as I could afford the best quality, that became a ‘must have’. I understood.
It was only natural my customers wanted a nice fragrance or deodorant. I made sure they had plenty to choose from. They were so proud when they were able to buy something special that made them feel good.
2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Glory be to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
There isn’t a human experience that Jesus doesn’t know about.
Kindness is like a passport; you’re welcome anywhere.
Picture by Pixabay