Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I Was Thirsty

Does a patient or their family every offer you a bottle of water, or a cup of coffee when you show up for a visit? Do you ever think about why? What does someone who can’t be sure of their next breath care if you’re a little parched or in need of a shot caffeine? Shouldn’t they worry about their own issues before they get involved with yours? Maybe, maybe not. Questions like these fail to take into account the essential fact that as people we are more than our basic needs. That caring for something, be it a person, or a dog, or a garden, work of art, or anything else, is at the center of our humanity. I visited a bereaved man last week; a man who since the loss of his wife has struggled to meet even his own basic needs. I went to care for him, but before I would offer active listening or talk about coping mechanisms, he offered me something to drink. This man, who had struggled for weeks to get out of bed, had made a special trip to the store just to pick something up, to have something to offer. This small act was a great kindness, a good deed. Where are such acts of kindness created? What led this man and the thousands of others before and after him to reach out even when they were in need of a hand? These acts of care come from the same place that pushes people to throw baby showers for co-workers and to spend their days and their nights caring for the dying. What brings about these good works, these acts of care, is born in the very deepest part of us: the soul of our souls, our secret heart. The place where the divine resides in each of us and where the love and care are breathed into existence. The very center of our being is the source of love for the other. The greatest thing we can do for another is to recognize that secret heart, that temple to the holy in each of them. To know the infinite love that has chosen to make a home in their soul, and allow them to see that love in each of us.
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