“You came to mind recently,” stated my jaw surgeon.
Not surprising, I thought, given my follow-up appointment had been booked for months and perhaps he had looked ahead on his calendar.
He continued. “I was working with a patient who had a great deal of support and you came to mind. I remember how your husband was here and all three of your sons came to visit you. And you had so many people supporting you.” He teared up. “That really touched me.”
As I left his office the words of an old chorus ran through my head, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
I certainly am loved well and you, my community, have demonstrated Christ’s love through prayer and countless tangible expressions of care. Be encouraged that your acts of outrageous generosity, kindness and love continue to make a difference in my life and beyond.
And, I am delighted to report that I have graduated. My surgeon no longer requires me to see him annually. In fact, I will only need to go back if a problem arises and he doesn’t anticipate that happening.
I am thankful beyond words.
With love and gratitude,
Life looks different sitting on the floor with an eleven month old.
I spent a day with our grandson last week. We camped out together on the playroom floor, surrounded by colorful toys that beep and honk. We pushed little cars and made “Brrrm, brrm” noises together as the vehicles rolled across the mat.
I am unashamedly biased and in love with this little man. Grandma’s prerogative, I believe.
First, we read books, which, in and of itself is a great way to learn and grow. But this wasn’t an ordinary reading experience. I turned the pages and spoke the words while he listened intently, pointing and touching. Then he took a turn flipping pages and “telling” the story – “ooaa oooh yaa eeahwa aaath aaowa.” Pat the Bunny never sounded better.
Grayson turned the book upside down, started at the end, flipped to the middle and held it sideways, checking it out from every angle. Note to self: Sometimes a change in perspective changes everything.
So much interests this little boy, from the tiniest thread to tags on blankets; from new tastes and textures to sounds and sights. The world is fresh and ripe for exploration and chewing on. Note to self: Engage all senses.
We also played, “stick the soother in Grandma’s mouth, watch her pop it out, pick it up and repeat,” endlessly. And each ejection of the pacifier resulted in full-body, belly laughing. He displayed such joy and unchecked laughter. Note to self: Be free to laugh spontaneously and often and even at silly things. And later, call to mind the laughter and let it bring a smile. No one needs to know why I’m grinning.
Grayson and I also spent time on the weekend by my garden box of arugula. He tentatively pulled a leaf off the salad plant and, of course, put it in his mouth. His scrunched up face and speedy removal of the greens tells me it wasn’t a hit. Note to self: It’s okay to try new things and not like them.
In a world fraught with natural disasters and unspeakable atrocities our little grandson brings light and hope and perhaps the most important note to self of all. When I walk into the room and we make eye contact, he bursts into a smile and throws his arms toward me. We hug and snuggle as be burrows his face under my chin and I whisper, “Hello, sweet boy. I love you.”
And I am reminded that while I can do little to help the masses, I can make a difference in one life at a time.
With love and gratitude,
"I have no idea what you’re describing!”
That became a familiar conclusion to an activity I used to run with my career transition classes.
I would set an object in the center of the class after asking one member to stand at the front with back turned. Then three people, each sitting on a different side of the item, would talk about what they saw without using the actual name of the object.
“It’s about a foot tall – a flat rectangle – it’s solid black and has a cord coming out of it. A black cord,” offered person number one.
“No, it’s a big silver box and it’s not flat. There’s a smaller silver box jutting out from the top of it and underneath that is something that looks like a UFO,” weighed in participant number two from the opposite side of the room.
A gentleman sitting between the first two speakers added, “Well, it is flat and black on one side and it is silver and black on the other. But my side has numbers on black plastic. And the silver side has a black rectangle jutting out with a plunger underneath it and a silver container under that.”
“I have no idea what you’re describing!” declared the one listening but not seeing.
Different perspectives yield different interpretations of everything.
Recently I watched a short video by Brene Brown where she talked about perspective taking and how each of us sees the world through a lens constructed from our unique combination of ethnicity, age, education, gender, experience, insights, family, and other factors. Every day we see life as it filters through our lens and many times believe that how we see something is reality. “Our view is the world.”
She then talks about how we mistakenly define empathy as putting down our lens and picking up the lens of another, in order to understand their view. But, “We can’t put down the lens. The lens is soldered to our face. That’s how we see the world.”
So how do we take the perspective of another – having empathy - if the lens we see the world through is soldered to our face?
Brene continues to provide a definition of empathy that resonates deeply with me.
“The answer is, you believe people’s stories; you believe people’s experiences as they tell them to you. You believe when people tell their story and say this is my experience of what it was like to…”
How I see the world will never be the same as how you do. But, I’d like to hear what it looks and feels like for you.
And for those of you who like closure…the object described above was a coffee maker.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst