Creating Bridges Instead of Barriers (and a little Cow Appreciation)

I’ve been meaning to write this post all week. I really have. However, I found myself living out a bridge or barrier moment yesterday and knew that I could no longer procrastinate.

Sweetie Pies, on Friday the 13th, the offspring and I dressed up like cows. Perhaps I should start from the beginning.

The sock hooves were a last-minute addition.

I received two emails on Monday — one for a strategy call that evening with Dani Johnson and another from Chick-Fil-A letting me know that they would be celebrating Cow Appreciation Day on Friday. I found the link to a few print-outs for the cow costumes, filed it in the maybe folder and proceeded to check out Dani’s website. I have been a fan of hers since seeing her on Secret Millionaire last season, but have never listened to one of her phone calls. I just told myself I had other things to do, like Facebook or Free Cell or talking on the phone. Important stuff. However, because last week was a good week in terms of momentum and writing bravely (an all-too-infrequent occurrence), I decided to listen in hopes of continuing a good thing. I was not disappointed. Her topic was breaking barriers. The entire call was motivating (I encourage you to listen to the recording), but one of the biggest takeaways for me was this —

Are you creating barriers or bridges?

We’re all creators of something. That something is either positive or negative, can propel us forward, kick us backwards, or in many cases, keep us stationary. All week I’ve been living with this question, and every day I’m finding that I create more barriers than bridges at a time in my life when I absolutely do not have that luxury.

There’s no money, and instead of finding less expensive alternatives or giving up something frivolous in order to fund my goals, I create a wall and let it stand. People look and talk to me like I’m stupid because I’m trying to do something against type, against the norm and instead of ignoring them I let their words and actions depress me and create a wall because I don’t fit in. I say I don’t have time because of my kid, the housekeeping, the errands, the work (and the television, the Facebook/Twitter, the games and the laziness) and create a barrier of looking much busier than I actually am. It takes a lot of energy to build barriers. I’d rather build bridges.

So, yesterday, after going back and forth all week with the kid about dressing up like cows in order to get free meals from Chick-Fil-A, we decided to go for it. We invited people to come with us. Everyone said no. They laughed at us. They agreed that it gets pricey to treat your family to dining out (even for fast food), but they weren’t willing to throw on the spots to do it.

Then, things started happening. It rained. It poured and gushed as we ran errands, and my smart kid looked at me and asked, “We’re not going to let the rain stop us, are we?” Bridge or barrier? “No.” His smile at that moment was the best bridge of the day. Still, the scissors were dull. Our ears refused to stick to our headpieces. The house wasn’t spotless. I was tired after running errands in the rain. I hadn’t published a blog post all week. We pressed on. As we were driving to Chick-Fil-A, I kept thinking, “If we get here and no one else is dressed like a damn cow and we don’t get free meals, I’m going to be so mad!” At least three times (yeah, because there are three major intersections [read: opportunities for u-turns] between my house and the restaurant) I thought about turning around and avoiding potential embarrassment.

We entered the parking lot, saw NO ONE dressed as cows, looked at each other and rolled our eyes. We parked, took a couple of deep breaths, and walked inside, where we saw most of the people dressed in their regular clothes and paying for their meals. But when I turned to the right, I saw a couple of tables with people dressed as cows. We exhaled and smiled in unison. With that, we marched up to the counter and ordered our meals. I upgraded my drink to the lemonade. Grand total (because of the upgrade) was $0.37. Plus, we met a few new friends who are just as weird as we are. Success!

One cool cow!

Being different pays off.  Pushing through pays off. Done with being chicken. Let’s Eat More Chikin* instead!

* We will be eating our chicken elsewhere in the future. I’m a mother with no husband, a sister of a gay man, a daughter of divorced parents, a friend and believer in FAMILY in all its forms. LH (7/20/2012) Find out more here.

7 thoughts on “Creating Bridges Instead of Barriers (and a little Cow Appreciation)

  1. I love your blog on “creating Bridges Instead of Barriers, something so simple, but very inspirational; Keep Going!!!!

  2. Given your last post, what are your thoughts on the anti-gay stance that Chick-Fil-A has taken, financially supporting anti-gay organizations? Earlier this week, I pledged not to patronize the restaurant, just so you know my view.

    • I’ve actually been thinking about this very thing since Dan Cathy’s interview with the Baptist Press was released. I even thought about removing this post, but since the point of it was breaking down barriers and not our undying love of all things Chick-Fil-A, I let it stay. Mr. Cathy is entitled to his opinion, of course, but I think that much of what he says is exactly why people feel they can’t relate to Christianity, and it’s disheartening that these Christians keep so many people distanced from knowing the peace and love of Jesus. That being said, the issue of restaurant patronage is one I saw on many FB and Twitter posts over the past couple of days — they get so much right in regards to service. The food is pretty good, it’s reasonably priced and their customer service is one of the best in the fast food industry. That’s not nearly enough to excuse their agenda, but, for many, it will be the real-world, long day at work, kids screaming in the back seat, twenty dollars in the pocket, courteous staff who won’t make you curse under your breath bottom line. All that to say, I won’t be supporting them in the future, but I can’t promise not to look to them longingly from across the street while I’m getting my cold McNasty from some snotty brat who thinks shoving my bag through the window while carrying on a conversation with the cook in the back constitutes doing their job.

Sweetie Pies are talking!

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