Countering the Culture of Suffering
--by donothing, posted Feb 12, 2009
I was at the emergency room of a local hospital yesterday helping my brother-in-law who had injured his knee. I hadn't been to the ER in a while, so I was a little taken aback by all the people in there with their various ailments and sufferings. We sat down by one woman who was just crying and crying, while her husband sat looking stunned and in shock. I guessed that they had a relative in there and it was bad, perhaps life-threatening.
I realized that the ER is a place where suffering is the culture; it is blended into the walls. This made me a little down but also eager to be of service. Surely I could do something small to put a smile on someone's face... perhaps counteract the thick cake of suffering that gripped the walls.
My chance came when my sister and I brought some food back to the ER for my brother-in-law, who had gotten hungry while sitting in the waiting room for an hour waiting to be seen by a doctor. As we were just finishing up the food, his name got called and was wisked away into the hospital; I was left to clean up the food. And lo and behold, we had some leftover french fries. I immediately knew what to do with those :)
I offered them to some hispanic ladies sitting close by. They gratefully accepted the snack; I smiled and handed them over, then walked away.
It felt nice. The act wasn't forced, as sometimes happens with me. It was natural, and it was from the heart. It was small, personal, which is the scale I like to operate on :) As I walked to my car, I thought of the woman who was crying. I'm praying that things turned out all right.
smiles to you. :)