Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wake Up Call

I'm not really sure why but out of the last few weeks of travel, there have been two times I've stayed near a big time medical facility.  First it was in Houston.  I stayed near MD Anderson which is a top of the line cancer center for those who don't know (I didn't, luckily). 
And I recently stayed next to the UVA hospital and cancer center. 
Back to Houston.  I noticed most of the folks in the Hilton weren't business travelers.  I took a shuttle to go find a cool place for dinner (this one time I actually had time to eat dinner and it wasn't fast food while driving down the turnpike ugh).  I proceeded to quiz the shuttle driver so I could learn more about the area.  It was near Rice's campus which he showed me. 
I sat down at dinner....at the bar of course when I'm by myself.  I talk to the bartender or other folks that look lonely.  Yall know I can talk to a brick wall.  Anyway this sweet lady and I started chatting.  She was sitting with her husband and two sons.  They were in Houston for her husbands check up.  The next day they were going to get life changing news.  Good or bad.  She was so positive.  She told me that I was going to have a good life and she was just so thrilled I was getting married.  I just kept thinking "you are so strong but quit talking about me, let's talk about you.... are you okay...etc. etc."  But she was just such a joy and an uplifting person.  I bet they got good news the next day.  I hope so. 
Anyway, the shuttle guy picked me back up from dinner and there was a young couple in the van too.  They were probably late 20's, early 30's....my age basically.  I asked them where they were from and they live in Wilmington, NC.  I asked them what brought them to Houston and they said MD Anderson.  They were there for a 2nd opinion after they had been to Duke.  Can you imagine?  They were so positive when they told me they already knew what the next day would hold for the husband but they could only hope they may get a glimpse of good news.  They got out of the van and went into dinner.  I told them I'd be thinking of them.  Of course I'd never see them again but I still think about them often.
The other night in Charlottesville, I was in the Hampton Inn elevator with an older lady and I saw she had a wristband on.  Unfortunately I knew that meant that she had been at the hospital across the street.  I made some stupid joke about how she and I were staying on the penthouse level (aka level 5 of a dang Hampton Inn haha).  She then opened up about how she hopes she got better sleep because her husband is handicap and she had to get up at 4am to take him to surgery but the surgery went well..... She kept talking and I kept listening.  She said she was going to sleep better tonight knowing he had done well today.  I told her I was so glad.
You know, it's not an easy world out there.  I'm really trying these days to stop and talk to people.  Smile at them.  And make silly small talk.  Who knows what's going on in their life.  It may make them happy.  Or they may just think I'm crazy, ha! 
It's easy to get caught up in our own little worlds.  Our world of preppy clothes and nice houses and cars and unreal experiences.  Don't get me wrong, I love all of that stuff but when it comes right down to it, it's not about that.  Life isn't about getting irate when someone cuts in front of you in line, or giving someone hand gestures when they drive like an idiot.  (Even though I want to go ballistic when these things occur).  But the truth is, it's just not worth it!
There are so many more important things in this world.  And I'm trying to get better about slowing down to enjoy them and being a better person.  I'm not anywhere close to perfect but I think some tweaks to my daily attitude will be a good thing for strangers, those close to me and to myself. 
Join me, will y'all?! 


  1. What a lovely post. So many people are struggling, and it makes such a difference when someone stops for a moment to listen to their story. It also makes our burdens feel lighter.

  2. This is such a great post! Sometimes I get so caught up in issues that I think are huge, when really they're so dumb and don't even matter in the grand scheme of things. Thanks for reminding me of this! Have a wonderful day!

  3. Brava to you for such a great post and a real wake-up call for all of us. I can't imagine going through this with a loved one. What a great reminder to always be friendly to everyone ... you never know the battles they are fighting.

  4. It does bring life into perspective.
    I've heard way too many cancer stories of people my age than I care to.
    MD Anderson is a great hospital. That's where everyone in Louisiana goes for treatment for cancer.
    And, you're right -- life is too short for petty things. We need to remember the little things.

  5. You are just so sweet and seem so easy to talk to! I LOVE meeting people when I travel and my mom hates it (which is weird because she is really friendly). It sounds like you brightened those people's days! Hope the new house is coming along well!!!