I’ve taken classes where there was no need to take notes. I’ve taken others that I could not keep up with the instructor, and a lot of needed information was missed because I just couldn’t write fast enough.
That’s how most of my days are at work too. I change into what I call my “school shoes,” and there are days when I coast through with minimal interaction with a patient who may be in a coma, and other days when I get the opportunity to pull up a chair and have a long, meaningful conversation with someone, usually significantly older than me. I always try to glean a little wisdom from people with more history behind them than me.
That happened today – the meaningful conversation. So did the note-taking.
“Would you like me to turn on the television for you?” I asked my sweet 89-year-old patient. “No,” she said, “I can’t have the TV on. I’m just lying here remembering, and thinking about the past.”
I pulled up my chair, had a seat, leaned in, and asked her if she was okay. And then I listened as she wrestled out some things that had apparently bothered her for a long, long time. I wasn’t taking notes, but if I had tried to, I could never have kept up with her.
“My daughters don’t speak to each other, and they have no idea what a burden this is to me.” By this time, my darling patient was crying pretty hard. “I keep trying to think back and remember what I did wrong. Where did I fail? What did I do wrong?”
I tried to reassure her. I’d met her daughters; they were both very nice and actually seemed as lovely as she was.
We had a few laughs, and agreed that we do the best we can as Moms, and the choices they make as adults are no longer a reflection on us. I asked her if she’d do anything different if she could go back to the past. “No, I wouldn’t,” she said. Then we both smiled, and she laughed through her tears as she said, “Well, I guess now that I’ve worked that out, I can turn the TV on and stop thinking about the past!”
I hated telling her goodbye – I really did. I won’t forget her, and I won’t forget her words about how horribly it hurt her to carry the burden of her children not speaking to each other. I’ll also probably never stop wondering – if her daughters knew how much they were both hurting their Mom by not speaking to one another, if they would choose to reconcile, because reconciliation and forgiveness are, in fact, a choice……… AND a command.
I just wonder.
Yeah, it was a note-taking, school shoes kind of day.
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15 (NASB)