Okay...this pic may not be the warmest looking hug... but it is the SEAspray blog. ;)
We can never really know what is going on in the heart of another. It could be our smile or kind action that turns a person's negative thoughts around... maybe even saves a life. And maybe that momentary gesture causes ones thoughts to go in such a direction...that ripples of good emanate forward thus affecting others for the better. We just never know how our words or actions will affect another and possibly others as a result.
But just to uplift one struggling or despairing soul... well that is special in itself.
I know that I am someone who can usually pull off lots of smiles and be upbeat...even when things are going wrong or my heart is just breaking. I will say that this past fall and now Christmas season has been a little more difficult for me to pull it off.
Christmas hasn't even felt like Christmas. It has felt hollow for many reasons... but I tried. And my family has been patient with me. I feel guilty about it. Then again...I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am missing people that are no longer with us. And I am grieving what feels like a loss of my mother and even though she is still with us...It hurts to see the decline and the pain is exacerbated by my regrets for things... I could've done better... and let her down. Now I know...it takes two and I didn't wake up one day and decide to distance and avoid.
But when someone's life seems to be hanging in the balance or is snuffed out.... clarity of what is most important seems to light up like a neon sign. Maybe it is part of the human condition...I don't know. Like maybe we go on about our day to day lives...taking things for granted and never fully processing the long range implications of our behaviors... we are just busy running on that hamster wheel of life.
Those of you that have been reading this blog recently know about the things that are causing me to feel sad.
On top of all that...there are things that have me worried, concerned and frustrated... more than what would be the norm for me. Some things I haven't and won't discuss here. But mix it all together and it has been a heavy load... for sure.
Last week...I somehow managed to put together what has now become a traditional Christmas basket for my urodoc's office. They don't expect it, but it gives me joy to bake and put the goodies together for them. And of course... I use the Longaberger baskets for them because I know they appreciate them. And the women (lot of staff) get excited over the food and get all bubbly and appreciative and their enthusiasm warms my heart. My doctor is always appreciative and comments but I don't think he knew I brought it... and I was thinking about what I had to say and didn't think to tell him and just assumed he would see it or they would tell him.
I am glad they liked it because it didn't go exactly as planned.
This year ...I have worried that I lightly burned the cookies (BOTH times!) but the women I spoke with assured me they were good. The first batch of pumpkin cookies came out slightly burned on top and the 2nd batch.. I put on a lower rack and came out slightly burned on the bottom. Sigh! (My oven really is too hot sometimes and I don't know why) Then the brownies had been cooling for 2 hours, but were still warm when I cut them... and s-o-o they were crumbling. Nothing was going right!! The cookies were crumbling too.
I realized I wasn't going to make my appointment on time and called, but fortunately for me (not doctor) someone was a no show and so I could still come in. So I used my big snowflake Christmas basket. I had washed out the plastic liner but didn't have time to line with foil or plastic and so I hope they know it was clean. Of course it would be. Then I took a big Longaberger Christmas plate that I had filled with brownies and placed that over the cookies and covered them. Then I added hot chocolate, popcorn, a really good vegan trail mix, 70% and less little chocolate bars and chocolate liqueur bottles. But I had intended to add candy canes for a prettier presentation and I left their card on the kitchen table. I didn't fill it out and so I can use it next year for them or another group of people. (Card for a group) I wanted to add some nice words to the gift. The basket was quite heavy with food and I got to enjoy their enthusiasm and so I shouldn't obsess over the little things. And I wanted to use this very pretty Snowman Ribbon I have (my favorite) and goes best with the basket. But ...I didn't have time to get it and measure and cut and so I used the next best ribbon.
Now...I KNOW...they don't know what I didn't do and I still brought a lot.. but I know and so it bugs me. Hmmm...I guess that is just me lamenting over not being PRECISE with following my plans. :) Okay...so Mom was right with that one. :) mental note made...the next time I use that basket for anything Christmassy for them or anyone... tie a pretty christmas tag on it. Iyt just looks nice and I am a believer in writing an encouraging word or two. :) And of course they know what I think of them...I am just being me.
I did manage to write a nice thank you note for the doc and staff I saw the next day and used a gift tag for the cookies and ... I tied their box of cookies (Costco Belgium Chocolate) with the pretty snowman ribbon. I don't know them as well and it is a small office and so I just did the one thing. My thank you to the doctor was long over due though. I hope he appreciated it. I wrote from my heart. :) One of the women immediately opened the window into the waiting room and said she CLAIMED the ribbon. LOL! I do love doing things like that. And I always appreciate gifts from people too. Just knowing they think enough of you to do something... well it warms a girl's heart. :)
But I digress and so back to urodoc's office appointment. It was only 3 days til Christmas and the traffic was horrendous...even the back way I go and so I was stressing greatly about going in late... and offered to reschedule when I got there . As always...they were gracious!
Btw... for anyone new reading this... I have been a frequent flier to this urology office on and off for 3 years or it will be 3 years this coming January. I have been through some
difficult times... both emotionally and physically with the urological issues, procedures, etc... among other things as a result of this urological medical history. I can not imagine enduring these appointments as happily as I have if it weren't for this stellar urology practice, i.e., the doctors and the staff on both the clinic and office side.
Anyone who has ever been a urology patient that has had to have multiple stents, procedures, hospital stays, tests, etc... knows exactly what I am talking about. My doctor is an excellent physician and has taken very good care of me. His partners are terrific and the staff is delightful and all are professionals who obviously work hard, but always with a positive attitude.
How can one ever say thank you enough when people have helped you in your time of need? Words never seem adequate enough. I know they know I am grateful... but still...I enjoy doing this for them.
So, with the traffic I missed the 4:30 appointment too and was hoping he was running later or had other work he could do.
The women were delighted to receive the basket and when I handed it to the one receptionist (who I adore) she said "Come here!" and with a big smile and open arms she pulled me into her and gave me the warmest hug and I reciprocated with the same.
When she did that... a lot of my stress just melted away. She is one of my favorite receptionists that I have ever met and when she did that... well the feeling is mutual for sure. :)
Hugs are healing. I really believe that.
Then it was time to go in with the doctor. I apologized for being late and as usual he was gracious... but it was bothering me the whole time. I KNOW how busy they are there! He also had time constraints and so unfortunately... I didn't ask all that I really wanted to and I was beating myself up for being late.
But when we got out to the front office... he also gave me a Christmas hug and when he did that... I wasn't worried about him being mad anymore and was relieved and he warmed my heart by being so sweet. :)
After the doctor appointment, I headed over to see my mother in the nursing home. It was a nice enough visit...as far as having to see someone in that situation... but I always leave feeling sad. (Will I ever get used to it and it won't bother me anymore? maybe I never should.)
But thanks to the warmth and well wishes of my doctor and his receptionist... I wasn't as sad as I normally would've been but rather was experiencing the afterglow of their kindness.
As I was getting on the elevator to go up...one of my former coworkers, an ED nurse was getting off. We both have the same name and so we both exclaimed "P-A-T!" to each other. Then embraced with another really warm hug. :)
We caught up with why we were there and what was going on in our lives, she was encouraging about finding work and we wished each other a Merry Christmas. I have to say...it felt really good to see her and make the old connections and I also felt encouraged because she has moved on into another profession. Still a nurse, but she went in a very interesting direction with her career. That encouraged me to see how change can be good and how things work out (even if you can't see it in the beginning) for the better in the end and for various reasons.
They say things come in threes.
I certainly got my three hugs.
And of course I am hugged by friends and family... but there was just something special this day... being hugged by three people I don't usually see.. that I care about... that would take the time to initiate a warm hug. And none of them knew how much I have been hurting...what exactly is going on in my life right now... just how sad I have been of late. Well, the receptionist knows a little.
So... I left feeling upbeat. And I am not some weakling in constant need of hugs and reaffirmation. I am usually a strong person and encourage and hug others... reassuring them in various situations... letting them know they are appreciated.
But that night...I guess God knew I needed a hug or two or..three. ;)
Then... on the way home... it hit me that my doctor never said anything about the cookies. I began to fret a little because he has always been enthusiastic with appreciation anytime I have done anything for them and I figured that he didn't know. And then I became concerned that he might not know if the basket wasn't in an obvious place and maybe he wouldn't see it before Christmas if he wasn't back in the office. So I became a little bummed because while it is most definitely for that entire office... my doctor is the one who has done most of the work... and put up with me...graciously.. and been with me through thick and thin. I was disappointed at the thought that he might not see it.
However, when I played my messages after getting in the door... he was one of them. He wished both my husband and me a Merry Christmas and then went on to thank me for the goodies.
What a thoughtful doctor! :)
Needless to say...I was instantly relieved. Also...did I say he is very busy? I do not ever expect any of them to go out of their way to say thank you. The gift is for THEM and I am saying thank you to THEM. Last Christmas they even sent a thank you note and one summer they sent a thank you note that a lot of them had signed. (No office has ever done that. ) They are quite thoughtful and are exceptional in their ability to help a patient feel comfortable.
Trust me...in a urology office...with the nature of some of their exams and procedures... (all the work in the nether regions of Bajingoland!) ... tis a good thing they help a patient to feel comfortable! :)
And I am posting about this... because that late afternoon-evening... really stands out as a ray of sunshine in what has felt like doom and gloom... and they will never know how much I appreciated their kindness and well wishes.
Sometimes... I think we say these things... as courtesies and sometimes more from our hearts... but what we can't always know... is that what seems like a routine or gracious gesture by us... can be like a healing balm to the soul of another.
I pray that each of them and all the people they love and care about will be healthy, prosperous and be blessed in amazing and special ways... now, in the coming new year and always. :)