I’ve been sick. For the last two weeks. In that time I took my toddler to the doctor on day two of her being under the weather. I harassed my dad daily on the telephone upon learning he had a flu – everyday calling to try to persuade him to go checked out. But guess who didn’t even consider going to the doctor herself? Yep. Me.
After a week and a half of coughing, low fever and having the worst congestion of my life- I had a night I was in so much pain I actually took a pain pill I had left in my medicine cabinet from having a C-section two years ago. When the lymph nodes in your neck hurt more than recovering from major surgery- it’s a wake up call!
The next day I managed to drive myself to a Care Now clinic while my husband watched our toddler at home. I was in rough shape.
As I waited for a doctor to come see me I was close to tears. I was so tired. And I was especially missing my own mom. She died when I was 16, and although I’ve learned to get along without her, I can’t always do it gracefully. This was one of those moments. I imagined a hurried doctor coming in, dismissing how bad I felt. I felt the room swirling around me…
But then something wonderful happened…
A head popped into my exam room. It was an older woman. A woman who looked like she might be a mom herself. And instead of saying hello, she told me she thought my fair coloring was awfully pretty. I’m quite sure I looked horrible. But her sweet manner calmed me, and made me feel human. She asked me some questions and called me “sweety” and “poor dear” as she examined me.
She touched me with care and concern. Before she left the room she said “Don’t worry sweetheart- we are going to get you something to help you feel better really soon! Go ahead and lay down on the exam bed, rest while I’m gone sweety.”
And as she stepped out of the room, I lost it. I cried. Her unexpected kindness broke something inside me.
Isn’t it funny how we can hold it together for our families, hold it together when we are scared or upset? And sometimes the thing that makes it just impossible to hold it together for one more second isn’t that things got tougher? It’s that someone is a little extra nice to you? Kindness broke me.
This bout with sickness taught me a couple things. First of all- I need to practice what I preach. No more making sure everyone else goes to the doctor while ignoring my own sickness. It helps no one if I’m sick. Moms have to see the doctor too.
Secondly, I realize that I will never get so old that I don’t need my own mom. And rather than trying to pretend that I don’t need her, I should accept that wound is just never going to heal all the way. But I also can feel my mom in other people. I feel sure that God knew in that moment I really needed a maternal figure to show up. He couldn’t send me my own mom, so he let me remember her through someone else’s touch. He let my own mom soothe me, through another woman’s voice. He let me experience her love again, but through a stranger.
I know that this is an ordinary story. People get sick. But I share it because I left the Care Now building feeling something very special had happened. And I wanted to share it with you all. I get the feeling that Physicians assistant I saw is probably like that with all her patients. And while I’m sure they all appreciate it – there was no way for her to know that day how much I NEEDED her kindness. How deeply it truly touched me.
I think maybe sometimes God uses us- just ordinary people to be an angel in another persons life. Just for a moment. And this experience reminded me that kindness is never wasted. You truly never know whose life you are touching by saying a kind word. It’s a lesson I pray I remember.