So far, this week seems to have been one of highly publicised televised interviews and sensational headlines, followed by opinionated spats and disagreements on various news programmes. It can be hard to change focus and to stay grounded, for unless one sits at the bottom of the garden in a teeppee listening to the sounds of nature (actually I would love a teepee!) one cannot avoid the news altogether. I wouldn’t want to wade in with comments about ‘that interview’ for I cannot begin to know the reasons for other people’s trials and tribulations. What has occurred to me though, is how complicated life becomes, when the need to be right, or follow protocol, or make people obey the rules, gets in the way of everyday life.
Perhaps we should all take a step back and think about the simple acts of kindness that sometimes get lost along the way – perhaps because of busyness or stress or life’s pressures. I recently attended an outpatient appointment at my local hospital, and to say I was treated with briskness is an understatement. In a procedure lasting just over half an hour I was spoken to only once or twice, and that was just to give me instructions. Just a few kind words and a short explanation of what was going on would have made such a difference and really improved my experience. I wasn’t treated badly, but I was treated with indifference. I do understand the NHS is under great stress. I used to be a nurse myself, and I know what a great job a lot of hospital staff do, but that day, kindness and interaction was lacking. Just a couple of minutes chat and a smile was all that was needed. Would that have held up the day too much?
I give the above example not to criticise but to illustrate how it is the small things in life that help us keep going and feel better. Life is short, and we need to be feel cared for and we need to treat people, and be treated, generously.
Recently, I have lost three friends from various walks of life. I have walked around with sadness and grief on my shoulders. Memories of the past have woken me in the night and I have tossed and turned, and pictured myself as a teenager once more, laughing with a friend who has now said goodbye. I have realised that all that matters is how we love, and that we will be remembered for the good things we have done, the friendships we have formed and the way we still managed to carry on and be ourselves even when facing adversity.
If only we could all cut through the wasted time that comes about from looking in the wrong direction or from dwelling on hurts that we could just let go, then we could make the most of the precious time we have.
Huge misunderstandings could be put right and hurts could be healed if those who had the power, reached out and said, ‘What can we do to make things better?’
A Sympathetic Voice
Lately it has come to mind
It is most important to be kind,
To take a moment, and make a choice
And comfort with a sympathetic voice.
In this complex world we keep afloat,
Care for ourselves without rocking the boat,
Weigh up the politics, try and do what is right,
Find something we believe in and follow the light.
But too many times, on a solitary track
Have we passed on by, and not looked back
Not knowing the difference we could have made
To the person standing alone and afraid?
And after frantic years of business deals,
With arrogant managers kicking their heels,
Would anyone look back and say
'I'm glad I acted mean today?'
Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
When we love and treat each other with the utmost care and attention, the little things that bother us seem far less overwhelming. And perhaps we should listen twice as much as we talk.