I hopped in my car after work and stared at my phone. I had already received the text three times, and saw they had now sent a fourth. Wegmans Pharmacy. “Your prescription is ready. Final pick-up reminder. Item will be restocked……” I felt a rush of embarressment and some irritation at myself for….well, so many things. With a twenty minute drive ahead of me, I called the pharmacy. I listened as the music played for the next ten minutes waiting for “the next available pharmacy representative.” Her voice came on the line and I apologized for not having picked up my prescription. I assured her I would be in today to pick it up. She was nice and did not ask for reasons or excuses. But for the next minute or so, I strung together some semblance of sentences. “I’m so sorry. I leave work…..healthcare…..scrubs…..don’t want to wear scrubs in store….plan to go home. shower. then come get it. too tired. too exhausted. can’t fathom walking through the door and standing in line. i’m so sorry…..” She assured me it was fine. Then, I hear a deep, unhurried breath on the other end of the line. She says, “Can I just say….thank you. For being on the front lines. Its so hard right now. I just want you to know how thankful I am for all that your doing…..” The tears clouded my eyes. I didn’t expect the kindness. I didn’t expect the unhurried kindness. The kindness that says, “I am looking straight at you in this moment. I see you. I hear you. I’m not judging you. I’m also not willing to let you go without you knowing what is in my heart.” So, so kind. I’m pretty sure, had she not released these words over me, I would have hurried my way home, mentally berating myself for not being more responsible. But, it was her deep breath that captured my attention and opened a moment.
Many of us have heard the illustration of the cup being full. It is full of…..something. And, when it is bumped (from crisis, tragedy, pain, etc….), something will spill out. We are that cup and when we are bumped, something will spill out of us. I have been looking at the contents of my heart because, there it is, spilled all over the place. I’ve noticed how there are sometimes two conflicting things that are bottled up in there. For example. Sometimes I’m so grateful for a job. Sometimes I just want to be home with my family. Sometimes I feel humbled to have a paycheck. Sometimes I feel angry that I’m not paid more, while taking the same risks as doctors and nurses. Sometimes I feel honored to be able to touch humanity and the fear they carry. Sometimes I don’t want to touch them at all. Sometimes I feel peace. Sometimes the anxiety chokes me. Sometimes I have the right words. Sometimes I have none. Of course that other voice can sometimes be so loud.
“You should feel blessed. You should give more. You should reach out more. You should *not* feel like that. You should be more at peace. You should be more content. You will never be enough. You don’t deserve more money. You are going through this because you have a lesson to learn.”
I’ve learned to be wary of those “shoulds”. That is always the voice of shame speaking and is the enemy of our souls. I would die if I listened to this voice. Instead I can acknowledge this evil voice and say, “I feel afraid of what this day holds. I feel afraid to leave my house. But I will lean into the courage and bravery that Holy Spirit has given me. I am made strong both in body and sprit and I will speak kindness and love and encouragement into every human I meet today. My touch will be gentle and strong. I was not made to recoil but to advance. I will look with love and not fear. If my eyes are the window to my soul, then what you will see is strength and kindness.”
Some of us are on the front lines. Some of us are stuck at home. We all have something inside of us that is spilling out. I continue to sort through my own mess and see what I find. Many of us are hanging out on social media. It is one way of staying connected. The thing is, though, that something very big has bumped into our world and everyone’s “stuff” is spilled out all over the place. This recognition has helped me as I see through what people are posting. Even things that I’ve posted and later thought…..”why did I post that”? Because we are all processing. Some are feeling angry. Some sad. Some powerless. Some fearful. Some hopeful. Some encouraging. And you can almost read through what people post and “see” where they are in their process. It may help us look more kindly. It may help us feel more compassion. Instead of telling them all the reasons they are wrong, or why they shouldn’t feel the way they are feeling, maybe just…..be kind. Take a deep breath and tell them that you see them. Let them feel your kindness. We have this power right now to open these moments of kindness and love over people. Take a deep breath. Look into eyes you can’t actually see. Humanity’s hearts are out on display. Lets not judge. Lets not act like we know it all. Lets not be a shaming voice. Our kindness can open moments of truth and love that will take people by surprise.