So, Monday at work, one of our patients, who has been declining lately, looked like she’d had a very tough weekend and kept throwing up her hands when I walked by (This is normal for her. She expects me to stop and chat with her every.single.time I walk by. If I don’t, she throws her hands up in the air. Last week, she did this even when we were in the middle of an emergency.). One time, she announced “I need to talk to you.” Every time I went over, she was either on her phone or asleep.
When it was almost time for her to go, I dragged a stool over and sat down. She was awake and not on her phone. I asked her how she was. More hand waving. How was her weekend? Okay, she guessed. Her husband? She was very grateful for everything he does for her and told him so on Sunday. Her son? Well, she kind of thought he wasn’t doing too well and was worried about him, but he said he was okay.
She got frustrated every time she tried to think of a word but couldn’t (brain surgery a year ago + a history of a stroke). She’s very demanding and autocratic—and she knows it, hence her gratefulness to her husband—but told me that she prays for the other patients and the staff, and she just hopes God hears her and knows she’s sincere. I reassured her that of course God knows her heart, and He listens to every single word she says. While her personality makes it challenging to take care of her, she truly has a good heart and wants to see others do well. She’s not in great shape, and she knows it, and she just wants someone to take a little bit of time with her and show she matters.
I wonder, how many other people do I encounter on any given day, people who seem surly or rude or inconsiderate, are really just hurting or lost or lonely? Do I ever bother to ignore their attitudes and smile at them? Do I take three minutes—or thirty—and ask them how they’re doing, or what’s going on with them, or how they’re feeling? Do I just go on about my business, rushing through my day—when I really should stop, focus on someone other than myself, and make their day just a little bit brighter and greener by the simple act of showing them they matter?
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