A spider had found its way into my room, and as usual, I gently swept it into a box and carried it outside. Walking to the back of the property I let the spider out of the box on the porch of the old, rundown cottage. "Make your home here," I said to the spider. "You'll be happier here than in my room."
As I walked back to the house I thought about Kati. She was my childhood friend, the gentlest person I've ever met. Even as a young child she was constantly aware of the surroundings, especially living creatures.
"They deserve to live a happy life," she would say.
"Don't step on that flower, it's so beautiful!" she warned me when we played in the field.
"Watch out! The ants are carrying a grub to their nest. Walk over there!"
Kati’s influence made me a better person. She passed away when we were seventeen. She had an inoperable brain tumor. But her gentle, loving nature had a huge impact on who I am today. Was that the purpose of her short life? To teach people to respect the life of every living creature?
Remembering Kati made me think about how we touch people’s heart and even influence them every day. We don’t even think about it, but a look, a touch, or a few words could make a huge impact on someone’s life.
Picture credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaeUq_mep2M
At the very beginning of my nursing career, I had a middle-aged deaf patient who came to the ER with an interpreter. I asked her questions, checked her vitals, gave her a gown, and pulled the curtain around her bed to give her privacy to change.
After the doctor examined her, I went back to her room a few times to draw her blood, hook up her IV and so on. When the admission was done, I went back to take her up to her hospital room.
She motioned to her interpreter and started moving her hands. The lady was looking at her and started interpreting what she said in sign language, “Thank you for looking at me when I’m talking. When I speak to someone, they’re looking at my interpreter and they’re dismissing me like I’m not even there. You’ve shown me respect throughout my visit by acknowledging me as a person.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I just gave her a smile. However, from then on, I paid a lot more attention when I approached people. Everyone deserves respect and attention and making someone feel dismissed leaves a painful emotional scar.
Compassion leaves a mark
I'll always remember people who showed kindness, respect, and acknowledged me as a person.
The woman with a full shopping cart told me to go ahead of her in line because I only had a head of lettuce in my hand.
The young man who gave me his seat on the bus when I was pregnant.
The construction worker who paid for my coffee when someone stole my valet out of my purse in the line in the coffee shop.
The nurse who sat with me quietly, holding my hand, when my mom passed away in the hospital.
Did anyone leave a mark on your soul?
Did anyone with words, actions, or showing an example make you want to be a better person and pass on the kindness you've been shown by others?
~Erika M Szabo
Erika M Szabo
Author of urban fantasy, magical realism novels and children's books,
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