I had flown in to Dallas late the night before, checked into my hotel room and, after a short night’s sleep, found myself back at the hotel front desk early the next morning to check out and head to a meeting. There were lots of business travelers in line ahead of me. Lots of suits. Lots of efficiently packed carry on luggage. Lots of coffee.
I held coffee in one hand and my carry-on bag sat next to me. My other hand held my phone a few inches in front of me. I clicked the green FaceTime icon and heard the familiar tune as my girls’ faces came into view (and then the ceiling and then just one big eye). I kept the volume just high enough to hear their little voices; missing them and looking forward to seeing them later that night. After a few minutes hearing about their evening, I glanced at the line ahead and it was almost my turn. I blew kisses into the phone and ended the call.
The woman at the front desk’s name tag read Pamela. I smiled at her and told her I was checking out of room 337. She asked how the stay was as I heard the folio printing next to her.
“Thank you for your sacrifice,” she said as she handed me the paper. “Oh, I’m not in the service…” I exclaimed, feeling like an imposter. I glanced down at the folio, expecting it to be someone else’s that would be clearly marked “Military.”
“I know,” Pamela smiled. “But you are here for work, right? And that work has taken you away from your family — your kids. So thank you for that sacrifice. Make it a good day.”
That day I worked a little harder. I was extra focused thanks to Pamela’s affirmation. In the things that take us away from the people we love, it helps to do them with purpose. Whether it’s a trip to Dallas or a day at the office, that time is a sacrifice. Make it a good day. Make it matter.