Some things exist in this world for the sole purpose of bringing joy. One such example is my friend Sporky.
Just so this will make sense from the beginning, here is a picture of Sporky:
And here is Sporky’s life story:
My last work project was an intense 7-month roller coaster ride of claims analysis. Claims analysis sounds boring, but it’s really not. And it requires a certain level of humanity for things to go as they should. Especially when the claims are for recovery of money lost due to fraud, which was the case with my last job.
Specifically, the case I was working on was investment/securities fraud. So it amounted to a relatively small handful of people becoming extremely wealthy by misrepresenting their company to investors. Honestly, I nearly have to give their marketing and investor relations departments kudos for getting people to hand over their life savings…except I don’t usually congratulate people for using their gifts and talents that way. Even in the best scenario in this case, huge sums of money were lost by people who didn’t really appreciate having their money stolen. Rightfully so.
The entire case from start to finish was chaos. The claimants were confused, they had been inundated with paper and documents and many of them were losing houses and lifestyles. Trying to determine fair distribution of funds was constantly interrupted to deal one on one with very emotional people. They were either confused, irate, sad or just didn’t trust anyone anymore. It was the rare person who rang my phone who didn’t have a huge problem and a very long story.
Doing this all day every day was draining. Add to that a work environment that is unorthodox, to say the least and other dramas unfolding around me, and you have a recipe for exhaustion, stress and despair.
One day, who knows why, I was having a particularly hard time coping with the office stress and the emotions of the claimants. There was probably some other stuff going on with me too, seemed like there always was then, but suffice to say I had a little meltdown.
I was chatting with a fellow claims analyst by instant messenger, bemoaning my mental state, when suddenly she appeared in my office with a gift to cheer me up. A spork on which she drew a happy, smiley face. It was so funny that I was cured of my funk. I named him Sporky and I colored his tines red so we could have matching red hair (I have since gone back to brown). We’ve been friends ever since, Sporky and me.
Sporky makes me smile when I see him. Because he’s cute and the whole idea of him is silly. I call him my redheaded sporkchild.
I was having a bit of a rough day today and couldn’t quite shake the yucky feeling. I went for a walk, which helped, but didn’t eliminate the dark cloud. And then I went downstairs and saw Sporky. He sits atop the thermostat in my condo, so when I adjust the heat, I see Sporky. He was smiling. Go figure.
Today I took Sporky’s picture and sent it to the friend who gave him to me. I think he made her smile too.
I think the lesson that comes with this is that it’s important never to lose touch with that little kid we all have in us. The one who sees the world with innocent eyes and can go to those wonderful, magical places in the mind that most adults don’t take time to explore.
One of my favorite teachings of Jesus is when he tells his followers that if they want to enter the kingdom of heaven they must be as little children. Staying in touch with our innocence brings joy and peace that can’t be found elsewhere. It’s a transcendent feeling that I would definitely describe as heavenly. Perhaps that’s what Jesus was talking about.
I’m grateful to have friends who are not afraid to be silly, I’m grateful to have Sporky as a reminder of that and I am grateful that I take the time to indulge that part of myself once in a while.