Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Card

Originally posted on Fighting Words - Stanley Bridge, PEI 

She went to her doctor about a concerning lump and he wrote it off as nothing; probably busy, maybe he didn’t care but regardless, the doctor brushed off her concerns as being irrelevant. He didn’t bother to take the necessary test to assure her that the lump was harmless but instead, assured the woman she was fine. 
It was cancer. Unfortunately, she didn’t know this fact until a year later when it was too late.
However, this isn’t a story to rip apart the healthcare system or the doctor who made this error in judgment but it’s actually a story about how we treat each other. For example, had the doctor looked into the eyes of a scared woman in the office on the original visit, maybe things could’ve potentially turned out much, much differently. He didn’t.
Unfortunately, it isn’t just an overworked doctor who makes this kind of mistake; granted, in this specific case it was a matter of life and death but in general, many of us, every day, overlook people. We forget that these people may not always be here to overlook. That’s just an unfortunate reality that we all must face.
Months before this woman’s illness was revealed, we exchanged Christmas cards. She had a habit of bringing one to many of her coworkers each year although that particular year, she revealed to me that she had cut down on her Christmas card list. She confided that after seeing some of her cards tossed in the trash previously, she decided it that her gesture wasn’t appreciated by some.
Although I was pretty young and naive at the time, I still recognized what an incredibly rude and hurtful action this was and immediately agreed that those people, were simply not worthy of her kindness. After all, it takes time to fill out that many cards but I guess they thought she had all the time left in the world.
This is a story that I would recall after her death when a stream of coworkers met and entered the funeral home together, some fiercely proud of themselves to show their unity while others, actually there for the right reasons and I wondered to myself which of those people thoughtlessly tossed her Christmas cards away the previous years. 
And let’s be honest. None of us want that kind of person at our funeral. I think almost everyone would agree that if you weren’t there for them in life, don’t bother showing up for the funeral either. And if you do, don’t cry and make a huge production cause you haven’t earned it.
The point is that we need to start treating each other better and we have to do so now. The news proves that we, as human beings are failing. We attack each other online, we judge, we hate and yet, rather than to change these behaviors, we choose instead to justify them. We don’t have to look much further than world leaders to see this every day. The rule of the jungle is if someone is a dick to you, you got the right to lash out. 
I’m not suggesting that we should save the world. I’m not even suggesting that you talk to your ex or start saying nice things about repulsive world leaders, what I mean is to just be kind to one another. Smile. Open doors. Listen, really listen, when people talk and hear them. You may not have the solutions to the world’s problems but you have two ears, don’t you? Let’s try to take this fucked up mess of a world we live in and make it just a little easier for each other, shall we?

And if someone gives you a card, even if you don’t want it, smile, be gracious and just say, ‘Thank you’. 

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