“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.