“You haven’t bought a new dress in years,” my husband noted one day a few years ago. He was to be the keynote speaker at a dinner and wanted me to accompany him. “How about that dress shop in the village?”
“No!” I said. “The one time I went there, years ago, the owner gave me a very unfriendly look!”
I was looking for excuses. My body was in terrible pain and I didn’t want to leave the house. But the event was important to my husband and he wanted me to wear something nice.
I didn’t want to go far, so it would have to be the shop with the unfriendly owner. I gritted my teeth and prepared to be infuriated.
I got a humbling lesson that day.
The owner didn’t smile this time either. But she waited patiently while I haltingly described what I needed then brought me three dresses. When I struggled to try on the first one, she helped me, gently and patiently. Finally, after getting into and out of three dresses, I was too exhausted to choose. She chose the one she felt complemented me best and was easiest to get into. She even gave me a significant discount on the price.
I’d been too embarrassed at my own challenges to really look at her face till my last minutes in the store. I made a small joke about my difficulties and she smiled in return. Except that her smile was a grimace. The woman’s face was deformed; smiling emphasized the deformity.
Something passed between us then. Two women, each with her own challenge.
Two women, sharing a moment of grace.
Yogi Berra had a quirky wisdom. Remember this one? “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours!”
It reminds me that I, too, depend on the kindness of others, especially since the car accident.
My post today is dedicated to my family doctor, Dr. H.
It’s taken me years to see myself as she must have: hair barely combed; no makeup at all; dressed horribly to match my mood.
I was too angry. At myself, for not healing fast enough. At doctors who never seemed to have the solutions I constantly sought. Yet, through it all, Dr. H. remained patient and kind.
What triggered these reflections? A post from “Victo Dolore”, a family doctor and blogger who wrote recently about an extremely disagreeable patient.
“Victo” persevered and finally found it within herself to feel love for that patient.
We all want to be loved and understood, even when we are at our worst. My humble thanks to Dr. H and other health professionals who are kind to disagreeable patients. These flowers are for you.
Photos by Hamlin Grange.
71 thoughts on “LOVE THOSE WHO INFURIATE YOU…?”
Oh Cynthia, this is a wise post, we never know whats going on in other folks lives and its so easy to make assumptions. I hope you enjoyed your husbands dinner occasion – tell Hamlin his hollyhock photograph is lovely!
I will tell him. And you’re so right. We never know. Everyone’s dealing with something, as my mother used to say. I’m wishing you a good day.
What a great post! Thanks for the shout out. 🙂
Well deserved. And you are welcome.
How beautifully Human!
Thank you, Klaire. Wishing you a good day. Your blog about rebuilding your house after a fire is very interesting.
I love this, Cynthia. It’s so true! Things aren’t always what they first appear to be. I was driving the other day with a big pot of soup on the floor of the passenger seat. I was taking turns and hills slowly so the soup wouldn’t spill. All of a sudden, I thought about my impatience when someone drives too slow or hesitates at a turn and realized I have no idea what’s going on with them. Maybe they’re not sure where they’re going or are even lost…or maybe they have a pot of soup on the floor of their car. Sorry for the long response 🙂 Hope you’re well!
You nailed it. So easy for us to judge others, but it really helps us to occasionally turn the mirror on ourselves. I love your sharing this with me. Thank you.
It is hard to know what others are going through in life, especially if it can’t be seen. (Been missing your posts.)
I’ve been missing your posts too, and as I get my act together, I hope to return to regular visits. Thanks for letting me know you missed my posts.
Beautiful post and reminders Cynthia. I hope to remember them as I age, move, and fall into disagreeable moments. to kindness and compassion…
Good to hear from you, Brad. Maybe old people should be forgiven for being disagreeable, especially if they live with pain and illness. Or, if not disagreeable, at least speak their mind, like the Maggie Smith character on Downton Abbey.
Agreed and it helps to have compassionate listeners around. 🙂
Lovely flowers for all those who have treated you kindly
Thanks, Donna. Hope all goes well.
Anger is an ugly beast and one which takes over my body rapidly at times. I try to work on it every time it happens but it’s not a battle quickly won. This post is a great reminder to keep working at myself and look deeper into things! Great post Cynthia!!!! Hope you are feeling well!
Well said, Tina. Such an honest response. Oddly enough, anger can be a motivating force, but it can also be so exhausting, and as you rightly note, not a battle quickly won. Will check out your blog soon to see what you and your family are up to at the farm.
I hope you are well, I have found that some people I end up liking the most are the ones I liked the least at first. Acquired taste in both cases, perhaps.
My husband did say to me the other day (after I put my hair in a ponytail) Got a redneck facelift? Then we both cracked up. I put a vase of flowers up yesterday on my blog – it will remind you of your first home..
Interesting that you say that about some of the people you end up liking. It really says something about not settling for the first impressions, doesn’t it?
Now – your vase of flowers — a thing of beauty. Am I allowed to envy your talent and skill? (smile)
LOL? sure, a lot of it is in the numbers and textures of the elements in the composition – do you know of the odd numbers theory in landscape design?
Thank you for taking us to the shop with you and helping to expand our minds towards others. Love the hollyhocks.
Ah, Hilary. It was a chance at a “do-over”, though I had no idea of this when I grumpily entered her store.
That hollyhock is such a beauty.
Thought-provoking post Cynthia and so true.
Thank you. Wishing you a good day.
Thank you, Derrick.
I love Victor, awesome posts and always thought-provoking. Cynthia, oh my goodness you are the most amazing individual – talk about being humble you’ve managed through this most incredible time in your life with grace and dignity. We all have our (not so good) days, you’ve had more than your share and then some. Bless your heart for the look between two knowing women – thank you for showing me that there are so many less fortunate and to quit my “belly-aching.”
Thank you, dear Mary. I must confess that on my bad days, I am a miserable wretch! (smile) But I’m so glad I went back to that dress shop and finally understood that lady’s appearance.
I love that your persevered and had an angel or two to help along the way. If we could all be this for each other, how wonderful our paths would be . . .
Hi Kay: well said … as always. Best to you and your sons. And also on the job front.
Thanks, Cynthia! The freelance work, thankfully, has continued to come in and the pace has picked up. Fingers crossed I’m being rewarded for being true to myself. But still not as good as you at loving those who infuriate me:).
An excellent reminder about treating others as we would like to be treated.
Thank you, my blogger-friend.
Such a lovely thoughtful post Cynthia! We all get cross and grumpy on our bad days and are a trial to our loved ones sometimes! May God bless those who care for us!
You got that right, Clare. Cross and grumpy is something I know.
So lovely. You brought a tear (or two) to my eye.
So first, thanks. And then, an apology for bringing a tear to your eye. (smile) wishing you a good day and “sunny ways”.
Ms CR, best to you and Bro Hamlin. You are right, people who deal with the public deserve those beautiful flowers and kind words, but I believe those disagreable patients are probably just as disagreable when healthy, eh?
Love you too.
Well, speaking for myself: I am never disagreeable! (Wink, wink.) Good to hear from you, Tony.
LOVE this Cynthia, been missing your posts!
Thanks, Gail. I’ve been missing the connection too.
You are an amazing lady Cynthia … this is a beautiful post. thank you
Good to hear from you, Julie. How does your garden grow? (since you are in your springtime there) I’ll have to visit your beautiful blog and find out.
Yes sure is spring Cynthia .. A new post goes up today 😀
So true, Cynthia. We see the counsellors, the doctors, specialists etc often when we are at our very worst. Yet they offer compassion and hope time and time again…. We are blessed.
We certainly are …. though on those occasions it may be difficult to remember that.
Such a grace filled example of ‘do unto others …’ And our deep longing to be seen as spiritually perfect with all our imperfections. Thanks Cynthia.
Thank you, Diane. You say it so well.
What a beautiful post. I was unkind to a young mother last night at a ball game. She was struggling with her obviously spoiled toddler and she kept grabbing me instead of the child. It has bothered me all day. Lesson learned that often my behavior is my own problem more than it is for someone else. Glad you were able to get a dress and make that connection with the owner.
I can see how annoying that was, Lucinda. And frustrating too. But the fact that your very human response has been bothering you speaks to your own good character.
Beautiful & important–thx for sharing each of these stories! 🙂
Thank you, Lori. How are the ducks?
They are rather pleased that the polar vortex is stuck in Canada this year. (Or is that just me?!) 🙂
Har de har….
A heartwarming tribute to all in the caring profession, Cynthia! Lovely post. 🙂
Thank you, kind ma’am. There’s so much caring to be done in those professions, and then along comes a miserable wretch like me, making it worse for them….
No, no, that’s what they are there for! 🙂
Wow, Cynthia, you caught us off guard again. Well done. I wonder how many times I’ve misinterpreted someone’s expression. Loving those who infuriate can do no harm–only good.
Blessings ~ Wendy
Except it takes an effort. Okay, a big one, sometimes. Thanks, Wendy.
a great reminder that you can’t always see the pain other people are in and not everything is always as it seems.
Well said, Marie.
Cynthia, what a lovely post. You’re so right. Sometimes we’re so involved with our own “whatever” that we can miss that we’re not the only ones having a tough time. You made me go look for a quote I half-remembered – “Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
You are a kind soul. Jeanne
Oh, I love that quote, Jeanne. Very true. I’m so glad you went and found that quote and shared it with us. How’s your illustration going? Are you selling the cards for Christmas?
My pleasure. (I do so love quotes.)
I’ve not actually been focusing so much lately on illustration as my writing. I’ve been tweaking a particular picture book to send off to the Exec. Editor at Sterling, and then I’m going to dive back in to my middle grade novel, or at least one of the two I’ve started. My challenge is always finding the time/energy to really focus on writing after putting in 40+ hours working for everyone else. As for the Christmas cards – what’s on my site is in stock, but for now, I’m not adding anything new. (Unless a stroke of genius slaps me hard and I really have to.) 🙂
When’s your new book coming out?
Next year. I’ll let you know, Jeanne. Meantime, my best to you on your writing, especially with the other demands on your time. So glad to hear that you’ve been tweaking the picture book and that you’ll be returning to your middle grade novel. You will let me know when it’s published, won’t you?
Hamlin’s photos are gorgeous and I love your story. How often we find it difficult to recognize and understand someone else’s pain, but when we do, how often it can bridge the divide.
How true, Lavinia. And so well said. To this day I’m amazed at how kind she was — when I’d thought her an ogre.
A very impressive story and a good lesson to learn.
Thanks, Ines. Hoping your art class tomorrow goes very well. You’re such an effective teacher.