Soup on a Cold, Rainy Day – A Story about Honesty

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PC: Chris Behnen

My dad took me out to lunch the other day. It was a rainy and cold and gray day. We went to that little soup place with the free breadsticks. As I sit down with my little sampler of three different soups and two buttery breadsticks, my dad lets slip with a strained smile that mom and him are doing the Whole 30 diet. He’s watching my breadsticks. I’m eating those breadsticks. I jokingly suggest that I wouldn’t tell mom if he just had one. He gleefully chuckles at the request almost as if to accept, but behind that smile is an ancient and resolute integrity. He wouldn’t be having a breadstick.

We each dive into our soups, and he dives into a story. He tells me about a conference call he was on. It was with this international team at work that’s been implementing a massive system between two countries for the past couple of years. My dad’s travelled halfway around the world multiple times already to meet with the team but it seems like the end is still far out. There’s been a lot of stress that’s come out of this project, much of it related to poor communication and unrealistic expectations. So, to say the least, my dad was a little anxious going into this next conference call which included the new VP of the international company.

The call started with this new VP clearly communicating to everyone on the line that they were going to have to be brutally honest with each other about the actual progress they have made and where each department was lacking. My dad knew his department wasn’t ready to meet the deadline that was coming soon, yet some of his colleagues maintained they were ready. So he spoke up. He was completely honest about where his department was at and why they wouldn’t be able to make the deadline. He got some pushback, but they kept an open and honest conversation, and ended up deciding that it was true that they wouldn’t be able to hit the deadline.  One of my dad’s colleagues ended up calling him back afterwards to thank him for being brave and saying the honest and scary truth, even with the new VP on the line.

As I sat there listening to my dad tell this story it was sweet to hear him finally get something good out of this long and tedious project that’s just been riddled with stress. But what struck me the most, and is maybe the reason why I’m writing about it, was the look of refreshment on my dad’s face as he told this story. He wasn’t bragging at all about how honest he was or how he was a hero or anything. He was just genuinely refreshed by the clarity and health that comes from an open and honest conversation.

It was just one of those sweet little moments, having lunch with my dad on a cold and rainy day, seeing something good in his smiling face. It was one of those small moments where nothing grand or important seems to be happening, yet something deep and real was meddling around behind the scenes. Because what I’ve come to know and love lately, is that Grace is on the move in all the little good things that happen.

Once in a while I’m given a few moments to see and appreciate that goodness, and it makes me smile. Just like my dad.

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