Have you ever met someone who was so upbeat and kind that you wanted to stay with them; the sight of them made you smile. I met one of those people yesterday.
I took my step-dad to the hospital for a stent procedure, the first of two that he will have. When we signed him in they asked “Have you been here before?.” My dad replied yes, but it had been many years ago and the gentleman behind the desk said, “well, then you know Jim. He’ll be out to get you soon.”
As we walked away from the desk, I kept thinking, Jim who? And how would he remember, it had been years. Seemed like a silly comment to me… but then we met Jim!
Jim started working in the hospital in 1979 and now holds the position of Cath Lab’s Chief Comforter (a position they created for him). Jim is a very kind and upbeat man, he goes out of his way to try to relax the patient and the families through laughter and his infectious smile. He comes out to talk with you, kneels on the floor in front of you, and explains everything he can in as much detail as possible. When he takes the patient back into the room to get ready for the procedure, he hands the family a business card with his cell number on it and encourages the family to call with any questions; and he truly means it.
As the day went on, he joked with my sister and I and had us almost in tears from laughter more than once. For the experience we went through yesterday, he was a highlight in our day. We will be going back in a month or so and I am looking forward to seeing him again.
I want to be like Jim.
One thing I have learned is being kind and helping others can help you just as much. Going through life, most people go through those times of depression, where your heart just hurts, you don’t want to be with people, you just want to sleep and hide from the world. I know I had a time period where I went through this while getting divorced. It is part of the natural cycle of loss (and divorce is a loss no matter if you see it as a good thing or bad).
Fortunately, I was able to work through mine. I don’t think I realized what it was until it was over. One thing that helped me was to force myself to focus on others. By helping someone else, it helped me forget my problems for a bit and I felt good by showing kindness to someone else.
We have to learn to deal with our emotions, to recognize them, and to try to take control of them before they control us. Sometime easier said than done, but we have to do our best. We need to be honest with ourselves to know when we need help, whether it may be counselling or medical treatment, don’t be afraid to reach out. I have been through counseling a few times in my life. I have family and friends who have had medical treatment for depression, long term and short term. Own where you are and seek help to take control if needed.
AND… with every treatment, find something kind to do for another. Even something simple like paying for the persons order behind you in the drive-through, or giving a few dollars to someone on the street. Yes, there are people out there who want to con you, but there are also people out there who need a little kindness, it is not our place to judge. If you feel it is right, then do it. Be cautious, always be safe and protect yourself, but take a step to be kind.
Another place to go where kindness is welcome, volunteer at a VA Hospital or sit in the lobby and talk to veterans that come in. Go to a nursing home and visit with the elderly, they have so many stories and you can learn so much. You can donate time at a food bank or homeless shelter in your area. I have loved working with Habitat for Humanity.
Maybe your kindness is doing something for your parents, like digging up flower beds in 95 degree heat for two to three days (that is what helped me) or doing something kind for a friend like watching their kids so the mom and dad can go to dinner. Kindness can be in many forms, it just takes a little movement to get there.
The important thing is, kindness can help you heal. Do something for others to not only help them, but help you too. Our world can use more KINDNESS!
Sending peace, love and joy to you! Sam