Let me tell you about something that happened yesterday, something that made someone’s world a tiny bit greener.
I work in healthcare, in a chronic setting, so I see the same patients several times a week, usually. Yesterday, a patient came up to my office window to say hi and answer something I’d been asking him about for a few weeks. He normally laughs and cuts up—and he did yesterday, too—but something just seemed the tiniest bit off, so I went out into the lobby and asked him what was wrong. After a moment’s hesitation, he told me that he and his wife had separated the day before. He was very angry, understandably, and something he said made me concerned for his mental health, so I asked him to step outside, because other patients were entering the lobby.
Outside, I asked him if he was suicidal and told him I was concerned. He said he wasn’t, just angry, and that turned into a 45-minute conversation with a guy who says “he doesn’t let anyone in.” I tried not to be intrusive, but offered kindness to a man that was hurting and worried about his son. Afterwards, I was able to notify the doctor and social worker, and the social worker chatted with him for about an hour and a half, offering support and help finding resources or anything else he needs. When he left, he was actually smiling.
Those few minutes out of my day and the time spent talking to a person going through something terrible let me make an impact on his day—a day that he called “very dark.” Even if spending a few minutes of your time talking to someone seems like such a small thing, you never know how big of a lifeline that might be to the other person.