A couple nights ago, I had to take my mom to the ER. She was having chest pains. It all worked out ok; nothing serious. In fact we had quite a lovely time sitting with nothing other to do than to chat. So chat we did. Five hours of mom time was delightful.
She started to feel better shortly after we arrived, but of course had to stay to have tests run and get checked out. During this time my mom was doing her darnedest to charm everyone who pulled back the curtain and came to poke, prod, xray, monitor, etc. She had everyone laughing.
We really did met the nicest people. Everyone was kind and generous with their spirit and their time. We really got to know several of them more than you might imagine. People really do open up when you give them permission. And it really is a giving of permission. By your tone, your words, your body language you let them know that you want to engage. Your open heart is an invitation for them to tell their story, your smile tells them you will be an eager listener.
Case in point, the guy that attached electrode all over my mom to run an EKG, ended up pulling out his cell phone and showing us pictures of his son. And what really MMS (MadeMeSmile) was that he didn’t just show us one, he showed every photo he had in his phone. “These are the day he was born, these are coming home from the hospital, these are my sister holding him for the first time . . . all the way to, here he is yesterday at the park going down a slide, picking up a leaf, falling over . . . I just loved how proud he was of his little guy.
An evening that started out scary, ended up filled with reasons to smile.
Smile. Be happy. Be happier!
Ruth P.S.: The photo is me and my great mom on Mother’s Day 2008.