The Little Things that Matter

I was at the hospital yesterday for a very minor medical procedure. My doctor was great and compassionate (after cycling through several not-so-great/helpful ones), and the nurses were too.

Even so, the procedure involved two very large needles and my lower back; not so fun, no matter how minor. It was relatively quick, thankfully, but did involve pain. About halfway through I regretted not taking the Xanax that was offered me, with all the anxiety stirred up!

Noticing my white knuckles gripped to my head rest, as I was laid out helplessly on the operating table, one of the nurses gently rubbed my shoulder and arm. It was soothing and calming; I swear I could hear the beeping of my heart rate monitor go down as her compassionate touch reassured me.

It was such a simple thing—probably even standard procedure for the nursing team there—yet it made such a difference in my experience during a stressful and painful moment. Compassionate concern. Empathetic human touch.

Compassionate concern. Empathetic human touch. These things make a difference.

There’s a lot going on these days—so much it can make your head spin. I worry about our country’s mental health as a whole and as individuals. I pray we can remember that we are all human. Every one is hurting, has burdens. The comfort from my nurse was a reminder to me to pay attention – sometimes (especially now) even a simple smile or kind word at the grocery store can be a counter-cultural act of love.

Even a simple smile or kind word at the grocery store can be a counter-cultural act of love.

We can also pay attention to ourselves and how to be kind and compassionate to our own body and mind (we forget that far too easily!). The little things we can do for ourselves to stay grounded make a difference too. (I wrote more on this in my review of Audi Kolber’s book Try Softer.)

Some of the little things that helped me through the stress and pain of my hospital visit:

• A pina colada slurpee (yes they exist).
• A page-turning novel.
• Snuggles from my pups.
• A pink sky at sunset.
• A favorite playlist.

May we pay attention to the needs of others and and ourselves. The little things that we do, with love and kindness, matter.

The little things that we do, with love and kindness, matter.