I experienced something profoundly moving last weekend. It was something shared by many. We celebrated the life of a friend who, by simply being herself, made the lives of those around her infinitely better. I can’t express my feelings about the meaningful conversations or the energy we all felt today. I may find words for that someday. I’m not ready to go there yet. It does tie into what I want to share today.
I want to tell you about a personal experience that made me think. I had a check-up appointment booked for a follow-up after an appendectomy. My appointment was the first of the day at the clinic. As I waited and the appointment time came and went, I heard others arrive and state they were there to see the same doctor. It was some 2 hours later, and I had not been called in yet. I heard folks complain and say it was unacceptable. This led me to put myself in the shoes of the doctor.
What can force a doctor to be hours behind schedule? There could be many reasons, and we can all come up with several quickly. I decided that being one of the first patients she was to see, it was my responsibility to offer as much compassion and kindness as possible as she moved through what would surely be another busy day.
She came into my room apologizing. I told her that she had no need to apologize and that I appreciated her hard work and dedication. Truthfully, she looked a little surprised. She went on to explain what had made her late. It was, I assure you, a very valid and noble reason. At this point, the reason didn’t matter to me. She quickly looked me over and determined that all was well. I looked her in the eye and thanked her for what she had done for me and that I understood that in her profession, urgency takes precedence. She stopped for a second and touched my arm. She said, “thank you.”
I can only hope that the folks waiting to see her offered some kind words and not expressions of frustration for having waited so long. I am not blind to the fact that some who were waiting were elderly or had underlying reasons for their frustrations. I am not writing about them. I am not judging them. I’ve been there.
I’ve been learning about essential oils and crystals and their healing powers. The word “namaste” is included in some material about compassion. I’ve read that the meaning of this word translates roughly to “the spark of divinity in me recognizes the spark of divinity in you.” Isn’t that beautiful? We are all one.
Bearing all of this in mind, I have a challenge for you today. I will be challenging myself in this same way. When those moments of frustration or anger hit you, as they surely will, as you go about your next few days, before you react, take a breath. Imagine you are on the receiving end of your own words or thoughts. We are all one. Would you want someone to speak or act that way towards you? Would you react the same way if the other person was someone you care deeply about?
Why shouldn’t we practice caring about others? Perfect strangers. A smile, holding the door, all those things we would normally do anyway. Take it a step further. Practice kindness and compassion when you’re running late, when the line in front of you is long, or when someone has done something that made you angry.
This is no small challenge. I know for myself it will take some work. I do feel more at peace just thinking about it. That is what I wish for you now, peace, kindness and compassion.
April 21st, 2022
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