Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sometimes you just have to take one for the team.

Take one for the team, will you? What does that even mean, I remember wondering.

Some of us hear this constantly at work, right, athletes?? Although, even if we don't work in anything sports related, we are trained, motivated and hopefully, inspired to work as a team. As a team you have one collective goal and as a team, a group, a united front, you work as hard as you can to reach that goal, together. A dollar amount you need to raise for scholarships, a class you are recruiting in order to stay competitive, a play off game you must win! As a team, you can do it, together.

Working as a team is one thing, taking one for the team is a different concept. What do you mean, Jess?, asks the voice. C'mon, like you don't know. You KNOW what it means, I say as I look up... one word: sacrifice.

A sacrifice is not a thing we can touch or possess or even look at. A sacrifice is something we make when we each give up a certain something in order to make another thing happen. And this "other thing" will be better off because of our sacrifice. A sacrifice is understanding that we can't always get what we want, even though we believe what we want is the best thing for us.

We talk about giving up "stuff" or making sacrifices during lent, for us Catholics out there. When we embrace the concept of giving up something for lent, we are embracing and wholeheartedly, understanding that Jesus died for us. That is the ultimate sacrifice, we are taught. OK, God, I know, I don't need to tell you about that. You literally penned that story. However, it has taken me a few years to get it. I think I get it. I think. What I mean I get is to be OK with the concept of sacrifice.

Disclaimer- just because I admit that I get it doesn't mean I admit it was or is easy!!

I moved to a different city over a year ago. The city, somehow, drew me into it years before and I felt myself falling in love with its streets, monuments, weather, baseball team, schools, oh yes, its schools. As some might believe they predicted, life threw me a curve ball which I swung at and missed. I missed hard. Others might say I should have hit that ball, but no matter what, it would have ended up a sacrifice fly. I had to give up the city, its essence, its people. That is one example of some of the sacrifices I have made. I left, it hurt, but things are as they should be. The rewards are not physical. I did not win a trophy, or the lottery (I wish!!), but by making one sacrifice I won more hugs from the kid, smiles and a new sense of awareness of what is important in life.

Why this topic tonight? Because life and circumstances allow me to "live" many experiences in which I (like many of you out there) learn how to appreciate words like sacrifice. Today I didn't agree with a few things at work. My thoughts and opinions were heard. Rationalized arguments were made and thank goodness, compromises reached. I don't believed I sacrificed anything major, but I did give up a little bit of pride. On second thought, I did sacrifice something... I sacrificed a sense of selfishness that was only hurting me and my work. This one, I am OK with giving up. I was able to look beyond my own wants and needs (some very valid and valued) but had to be put aside.
Our own agenda sometimes has to be sacrificed in order for the bigger picture to be painted. For the program to run smoothly, for the community to be cohesive. I am not implying we change who we are. On the contrary, but to consider the alternatives of looking at things in a different ways, doing things differently, perhaps accepting the necessary sacrifice we must make for the greater good... whatever that greater good is---we are all allowed to have our own definition of greater good!  For me it's access to education, for others is world peace.

Sometimes, it's not about you or me, it's about the operation and implementation of the initiative. While we all have tendencies and are driven to do, do, do, let's do it all, let's be all, but let us not make the ultimate sacrifice of giving up who we are. We are who we are and while we may need to tweak a few things here and there about how we handle life situations, depending on what the circumstances are, sacrifices need to me made. That's OK. I am OK with that, it's part of life. Sometimes it's about the integrity of the work we do and the final goal we must reach.

Sometimes we just have to take one for the team.

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