“Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32, NIV 2011).
Ron was doing fairly well at the time of my hospital visit. I examined him and asked him the pertinent questions. With things being fine, I was ready to leave. He added this as I reached the door,
“You know, I had a moment today. I got emotional. Dr. T. came by to visit me. He didn’t need to see me; he just stopped by to see how I was doing and to see if there was any way he could help. Just that kindness overwhelmed me and brought me to tears.”
How many “moments” do I make for my patients each day?
Moments are occasions when time stands still and life fills up with incalculable value.
I remember such moments in my life.
One such moment that I cannot forget took place when I was a new missionary doctor in Eku, filled with an incredible drive to accomplish the task. I spent more time in the hospital than many of the other doctors and my wife missed me terribly. I discovered her unhappiness in the middle of a very busy clinic day with scores of patients still lined up outside my window. My heart was torn between the responsibility I lived for and the wife I love.
A veteran missionary, Dr. Curt Abel, learned of my brokenness. I don’t know how he knew, but for 30 years I have remembered the feel of his burly arm around me as he said, “Don’t worry about this over here. I’ll take care of your patients. Go home and take care of things there.”
The poet Maya Angelou put it this way, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“Moments” are times that are eternal in value but brief in duration. We, as doctors, can best provide such moments of value when we go out of our way with kindness. I wonder how hard it would be to deliberately make such moments for our patients at least once a week. I wonder how hard to do so once a day.
Live out your kindness through me in unexpected ways.