An unplanned kindness

Dear friends,

It is the middle of June and as I bask in the warmth of the morning sun, I am grateful for all the blessings in my life:
my health, my family, my friends and my enduring impression that I will be granted many more days which I can
live wisely. I invite you to reflect on the first half of this year as you take that invigorating morning walk and move your
body in preparation for the day’s activities.

The past few months have found me spending a lot of time in the public hospital system accompanying my 83 year old father
to his appointments. If you have visited any of our (public) hospitals, you know that most of the installations are decrepit,
the atmosphere is gloomy, the wait is long and the conversations around you can range from complicated medical terminology
to the latest developments in our national soccer or politics. I usually have my book or newspaper to pass the time, but this is one place where people watching is more entertaining and educational.

Last week at the conclusion of my father’s visit, it was determined that he needed to have an operation. Prior to the operation, he needed to have some tests which included giving blood samples. As we waited in the room for him to be called, he asked if I would get him a bottle of water, assuring me that he felt fine and did not mind waiting alone for a few minutes until I returned. He was called to the tiny cubicle as I was making my way out to purchase the water. I caught a glimpse of a young pregnant woman helping him take off his jacket. I chided myself silently that I hadn’t thought to do it myself but proceeded to get the water so that I could be back before he was done. I rushed to the nearest vendor and came back quickly but my father was already back in the waiting area when I returned.

I offered him the water and asked how he was feeling. He told me about the young woman who had helped him with his jacket. He had mistaken her for an employee until he realized that she had blood taken from her immediately after he had. As he sat waiting, the small cotton ball they had given him to stop the flow of blood was completely soaked. She noticed this detail and asked for more cotton and adhesive tape to secure it. Then she helped him with his jacket and seeing him safely seated, she left. All this was done before I returned, which was less than five minutes.

I didn’t have a chance to thank this future mother for her kindness to my father. I spent a few minutes wondering what aspect of
my father’s condition prompted this benevolence from a stranger. We left the area and headed to a different place where we had another long wait ahead of us. The room was full of senior citizens with a wide assortment of ‘conditions’, many were there alone. I felt shrouded in charity after our recent experience with a kind stranger. While I waited for my father to complete his errand, I administered whatever help was at my disposal (getting a chair, answering a question, making small talk). When I reviewed my day before I went to sleep, I felt the overwhelming sensation of peace that comes from living a good day. I was glad to have helped a stranger’s parent as that young woman had. It cost me nothing to be kind and brought me many benefits. That’s a pretty good deal, don’t you think?

Have a wonderful day celebrating all the fathers in your life and a terrific week celebrating life,


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