We celebrated Naw Ruz a little over a week ago. Or, rather, we didn't celebrate. It is normally one of the few days per year when we close our business but this year there was a change that prevented that. We sell games and some of the publishers require tournaments to be run on specific dates when new products come out. Normally it doesn't conflict with Naw Ruz but this year it did. Closing would have been not only bad for business but also extremely disappointing to a couple of hundred gamers who had looked forward to this for months.
When we first realized we would have to stay open I was pretty upset. My involvement with Baha'i community activities has been going down hill for a while and I didn't want to skip another Holy Day. When the actually day rolled around I realized I felt a bit different though. Other people were benefiting from us sacrificing a day off and making other people's lives happier is a big part of what being a Baha'i is about. I decided I was okay with that.
I kept mulling it over though. When I thought about it, I realized that over the past year I've come to enjoy going to work more and more. I've also become worse and worse at doing Baha'i things. I wasn't sure I should be as okay as I was about not observing Naw Ruz given how much we're slacking the rest of the time.
Then last night one of our regulars stopped in to make a last minute purchase before closing time. I was working alone and had had a long, difficult day. He got what he needed then chatted with me a bit, mentioning that he might be moving away in a few months and that he was really going to miss us. Then he went on to say how amazed he was that we spent so much time talking to our customers, even the ones who were really annoying. He said it made everyone feel very at home and included and that he'd come to be able to talk to us about a lot more than just our business. As he talked he became very emotional.
We've always tried to build a sense of community with our customers, and as Baha'is striving to be inclusive and welcoming is something we consider mandatory, but we don't always know if anyone is noticing. (But of course we try anyway.) After seeing how much this meant to this one fellow I've decided not to worry anymore. Apparently giving people a little extra of our time pays off more than we know.