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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Finding Lourdes

For anyone who doesn't know, Lourdes is a famous place in France where people go to be healed, a place where many people believe one can find miracles.

One part of my work, that I find is very common is that people bring in some consultants and expect you to just wave your magic want, sprinkle fairy dust and 'fix' this long list of problems no one on the inside has been able to figure out. Of course all of this must occur in three days. Or less.

OK.

One thing I sometimes say in a joking way is that 'This isn't Lourdes sorry, I can't do miracles but thanks for your optimism...' and explain to them the reality as I see it anyhow.

My business partner, a brilliant woman of many talents, said that line in a seminar we were giving for on Strategic Planning for a large government agency. Turns out the real problem was that everyone there in charge really really hated each other....and I mean hate.

When someone in the room asked her about fixing that, she replyed of course that it would take a miracle to solve such a problem as 30 adults who couldn't get along well enough to make their agency function, and pointed out in jest that 'it wasn't Lourdes".

People laughed, we moved on.

One evaluation we got, and they were mostly glowing, was very troubled that she had joked about a sacred place like Lourdes. She felt religion was being mocked. My partner and I tried to brush it off, but all the way home in the car something troubled me about that. Life being what it is, so long as the client was happy, and the evalutions ran at 4.8 out of 5, I got into our next project and just tried to put it out of my mind. I reminded myself never to say that to a client again. Things being the way that they are, I never tell my partner what to say or not say, but in my mind, if someone was offended, I take that seriously.

Then, out of the blue I ran into a woman I know thru my youngest daughter. Her little girl had been in second grade with mine last year. Her husband had been sick and a number of times I had watched Anna so she could visit him at the hospital. I wasn't sure what he had exactly but I assumed he was going to recover, I mean the guy was in his 30's seemed fine before and was at a good hospital right?

Wrong. He died the woman said just the mounth before. It was a terrible moment. I just hugged her and of course offered to help her with Anna if she needed it.

She told me she had just come back from someplace far away with her children and she was feeling better and would be ok.

You won't believe where she went.

To Lourdes.

She wanted to ask God to help her recover from her beloved husbands death. I was stunned.

I think one can never underestimate the power of Belief. Whether you call it faith, or simply the 'Placebo Effect' when people *believe* something is going to happen, its more likely to occur.

Amita, Anna's mothers face looked sad and resigned at the same time. She told me again, she would be fine. And I believe her.

5 Comments:

Blogger Pragmatician said...

I don't think anyone should be offended by what your colleague said.
People go to Lourdes in the hope of a miracle while you (I assume) provide services based on thought and logic. Indeed this isn't Lourdes.

11:35 AM  
Blogger EXSENO said...

Oh how sad to lose someone in the prime of life.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Elder of Ziyon said...

While I don't think you said anything offensive, in your job you have to worry about offending people much more than in real life.

I'm sorry to hear about your friend's husband.

7:34 AM  
Blogger callieischatty said...

Pragmatician
Yes I am trying to base what I do on thought and reason and give people clear expectations of what is going to happen if they hire me.

Exseno
Yes its very sad.

Elder, you are so right, I have to be super cautious not to offend anyone, and I try to take great care not to do that.

10:17 AM  
Blogger DIAMONDKT said...

They say the good die young, whether that is true or not, it's still tragic.

2:50 PM  

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