Significance


The Name of the Cleaner

During her second month of nursing school, the professor gave the students a quiz. The last question stumped most people in the class. It read “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

All the students had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would any of them know her name? Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward their grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello”.

The students never forgotten that lesson. They also learned her name was Dorothy.
Source: reported in “Heart At Work” Editor: Jack Canfield and Jacqueline Miller

Smoke

In 1995 the movie “Smoke” was released, starring Harvey Kietel and William Hurt. The centre of the film is the Brooklyn Cigar Co., located at the corner of Third Street and Eighth Avenue.

The Brooklyn Cigar Co is owned by Auggie Wren, played by Harvey Keitel. Every morning at 8 a.m. Auggie walks across the road from his store locate don the corner of Third and Eighth and takes a photograph of it. The angle of the camera never varies, just the weather, the people on the street, the colour of the sky.

One of Auggie’s customers is Paul Benjamin. Paul’s an author who is suffering from writer’s block, he’s suffered it ever since his wife, Ellen, was shot and killed one morning right outside the Brooklyn Cigar Co. One morning Paul wanders in and sees Auggie’s camera. They get talking, and Auggie reveals that photography is his hobby, his art, his life’s work. Paul tells Auggie he’d love to see his photographs, and so, Auggie closes up the shop and takes Paul back to his house to show him his collection.

Auggie pulls out a set of large, heavy photo albums and places them before Paul Benjamin, the writer. Paul opens the first page. There, mounted on a stark black background, are four photos, and they’re all of Auggie’s shop, the Brooklyn Cigar Co, on the corner of Third and Eighth, all taken from exactly the same place, at exactly the same angle. Paul turns the next page and he sees exactly the same thing. Four photographs of Auggie’s shop, all taken from the same place, at the same angle. He turns the next page and he sees more. He starts turning the pages faster and faster, til he’s rapidly flipping through the book, when Auggie puts a hand down on the back page and says, “You’ll never get it if you don’t slow down.”

“But Auggie”, says Paul, “they’re all the same.”

“They’re all the same,” Auggie replies, “but each one is different from all the others.” Auggie explains that he has 4,000 pictures of the same place, but that each picture is different. “It’s my corner, after all. I mean, it’s just one little part of the world, but things take place there, too, just like everywhere else. It’s a record of my little spot.”

Then Paul sees someone he knows in one of the photos: his wife, who was pregnant when she was shot and killed one morning on the street outside the store. “It’s Ellen,” he says. “Look at her. Look at my sweet darling.” And he begins to cry.

Now all the photos do not look the same anymore…It’s just that you’ll never get it if you don’t slow down.

Sir Michael Costa

Sir Michael Costa was a great orchestral Conductor of the 19th Century. It is said that one day he was conducting a rehearsal in which the orchestra was joined by a great choir. Midway through the session the piccolo player stopped playing. It seemed innocent enough – after all who would miss the tiny piccolo amidst the great mass of instruments blazing away? All of a sudden Sir Michael stopped the entire orchestra and choir. “Stop! Stop! Where’s the piccolo? What’s happened to the piccolo?”

We may sometimes feel like that piccolo player – that we don’t have much to offer, that if we stopped our ministry no one would notice anyway. Yet the Great Conductor notices, and needs us to complete his orchestral masterpiece!

Being Jacob Dylan

Jacob Dylan is the lead singer in a band called the Wallflowers. He’s also the son of Bob Dylan, and all his life he’s had to live in the shadow of his famous musician father. When his band went on their first tours they’d find the audiences packed with middle aged fans of his father armed with 20 page letters for the accessible younger Dylan to pass on to his inaccessible father.

I was struck by something Jacob Dylan said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. He talked about how books had been written about his father, even history books, analysing Bob Dylan’s place in shaping modern culture. The he said this, “There’s countless biographies. In most of the books, there might be one page that mentions the names of [Bob’s] children. That’s it. I don’t want to be a page in the book.”

Source: Quote taken from Rolling Stone Magazine Issue 585, March 2001