There are two places where I never want to strike up conversation with people. When I am exercising and when I am waiting in the lobby at my doctor’s clinic. At the gym I’m on a mission to get my workout done and I have an agenda that must not be interrupted. There have even been occasions when my beloved husband has tried to talk with me at the gym. When he does, I give him the “stink eye” and he has to move on. There really are no exceptions.
If I am sitting in my doctor’s office waiting to be seen, it’s because I’m not feeling well. And when I’m not feeling well I don’t want to talk to anyone because I am most certain that I will not temper my words. On one of my trips to the doctor, a man tried to strike up conversation with me. As I was getting ready to give my sarcastic reply, the nurse called me back. His feelings were spared that day and so was my dignity.
Recently while at the medical clinic, I was seated near two ladies who didn’t know one another before that moment. They were from separate assisted living centers in our community. One asked the other a conversation starting question and the dialogue that ensued made me rethink my selfish attitude. As they visited, they began discussing how difficult it was to give up their independence. One of them spoke of how much she hated having to rely on someone to drive her places. She openly resented the fact that she can’t just get in the car and go where she wants to go. Then she said the word, “it almost feels like I’m grieving and that’s just ridiculous”. The woman who she was talking to listened patiently and with compassion in her eyes. She shared how she had given up her many freedoms a few years prior. Finally she stopped mid-sentence and said, “you know, it is a loss and it’s alright for you to grieve; it’s alright for you to cry because it’s a loss that people can’t really understand until they have been there.”
It was in that moment that I realized that I am not on this planet just for me. While someone may need help laughing, someone else may need help crying.
Will I be that one? Will I be able to lay aside my selfish agenda to allow another person to express their grief? Will I give the stranger on the street, in the doctor’s clinic or at the gym a moment of my time to express what, perhaps, nobody else is willing to hear? Will I live out my Christianity by being the ears, eyes and hands of Jesus?
These are the questions that I am asking myself lately. I want to answer yes to all of them, but I admit that I fall short.
How about you?
Thanks for stopping by,
Amy L. Potts