Coming out of a crowded bathroom after seeing Winnie the Pooh Live today, I told my daughter-in-law about a little girl named Lyla, that our very own Lyla and I had met while washing our hands. Her middle name was Song, to honor her Korean grandmother, and her maiden name. Lyla shared her middle name with the little girl, and they both giggled, fascinated that they shared the same name. Holly laughed because she couldn’t believe Lyla and I had participated in that long of a conversation with a stranger in such a short time in the bathroom. But we did!
People are interesting, and it’s not uncommon for me to talk to everyone, everywhere. Just ask my mother. She says I haven’t changed a bit since first grade when the nun at school said I talked too much, and promised to put a star on my forehead every day I was successfully quiet. But I wasn’t interested in having a star on my forehead. I just wanted to talk. So, I didn’t get very many stars 😉
And I still talk. I talk to my patients all the time. I mean, sorry, but if we’re spending the day together because you have a very long chemotherapy treatment, I’d like to know a little bit more about you than just how much fluid you’ve been drinking and what your most recent bowel habits are. And on most days, I find myself in some pretty sweet conversations, and it’s still common for me to walk away with some valuable nugget of wisdom. People who are sick know some stuff that I don’t, so I not only talk… I listen.
This week was no different, except that I enjoyed listening to one particular conversation between two patients with cancer. One was wearing a wig, and the other gal was crying with her sister who was there to support her, and cried that she felt ugly in her wig and that it itched her scalp. The other patient pulled back the curtain when she knew she had an opportunity to encourage this young frustrated gal in tears. She pulled off her wig and laughed, and said, “Girl. You’re not your hair. Look at me! And by the way, you’re BEAUTIFUL!” And then I stood and listened as a sweet new friendship began.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
You couldn’t pay me to leave bedside nursing. I love hearing the beauty of encouragement between people. And ya know what? I think it’s a sweet little gift from God Himself, in the middle of the day, sometimes, sent just to encourage me, and I wouldn’t want to miss out on any of that! That gal was so right. We’re not defined by our hair, or the lack thereof, or our dress size, our credentials, our bank accounts, marital status, our health issues, or even our figures!
We all have the opportunity every day – each one of us – to either encourage, or discourage everyone around us with what rolls off of our tongues. I’m so grateful for the reminder of this. (Sorry, not sorry, Sister, but I’m gonna keep on talking to everyone I meet!)
This old RN is still in His Grip, still wearing her school shoes, and if you’re reading this, I just want YOU to know – you’re beautiful, just the way you are.