Between scheduled oral surgery, the broken ankle adventure, and accompanying my Mom to a couple of doctor’s visits, I’ve been in more doctor’s and dentist’s offices, imaging centers, and walk-in care centers in the last six weeks or so than I have in years. Maybe it’s being in a small town, but there hasn’t been a difficult moment anywhere. Tuesday as I left the orthopedist’s office, it struck me that I have been surrounded by people who care. Sure, for many of the people I’ve interacted with it’s a job not a vocation, but in spite of, or could it be because of, all the new steps, everyone has been friendly and helpful. And of course, that means the past few weeks have been better than they would have been otherwise.
One day the dentist sat and chatted with me as his assistant ran across the street to the grocery store to buy some Super Glue to fix the temporary appliance I need. (Long story.) She didn’t have to do that. She offered. They had an okay solution in the office, but this would be better so off she went. He didn’t have to hang out with me while we waited, but he did. While I could barely recognize him behind the mask, face shield and hair covering we learned a bit more about each other as people that day.
For all the stories out there about people yelling at each other and going out of their way to be rude and obnoxious, there are also stories of people trying and succeeding in caring for and about each other.
I know each of you are a member of this group – people who care and are working to make the places you live and work friendlier and more caring in difficult circumstances. I also know you are tired and frustrated and may wonder if anyone even notices. They do, they are just busy too.
Years ago my colleague Larry Roper taught me an important idea for instigating change. Bring together ‘people who care, talking about things that matter’ is the way to begin. Care in this context often means caring about the big issues and ideas, but I also think it applies to our day-to-day interactions. People who are willing to care enough to be kind make a difference in the world around them. People who care enough to be pleasant as they schedule an appointment make life better for the person in front of them or on the phone. People who care go slightly out of their way to open a door. People who care do things that matter.
I encourage you to stop today and recognize that you are someone who cares, which means you are making a difference. And when you interact with people who care, you might let them know you noticed – after all, we can all use a bit of encouragement. (FYI – the word courage comes from the Latin root cor, thus courage is about having the heart to do something. And when we en-courage someone we are reaching out to support their heart which in turn helps them have the heart to care for themselves and each other.)
Cheers to you, the People Who Care!