Monday, January 20, 2014


A little old man snapped at me today.  I was trying to make conversation, to be good company, to engage him and lift his spirits.   He was not helping.  Yess-ing and no-ing to every topic I brought up.  So I began a rift on the weather. That it was supposed to snow later in the week.  How hard that was to believe seeing that it felt like spring today, yadda, yadda, yadda.  That's when he pounced.  "Why are you all so obsessed with the weather?"  "Who is you all?" I asked.  "Every one from hospice." he replied shaking his head.

"Maybe it is because you are being so difficult to talk to.  Maybe because ten minutes with you feels like an hour.  And if by some cruel twist of fate this was a date, I would never go out with you again, you cranky little man." is what I DID NOT say.  I just attempted new topics and made a note on his chart to not discuss the weather again no matter how interesting or dramatic I might find it.

It is moments like this that make me long for a vacation.  The problem is that I was "on vacation" all last week.  Not sunning on a hot beach, or visiting far away family.  Nope.  I took a week off to attend a one week intensive class as part of my board certification process.

My class was on the practice and process of groups. There were ten of us and the teacher.  And the truth is, it was a break.  Interesting students and relevant material made it a helpful, intense, change of pace.

On the first day we were taught that people are wounded in relationships, and people can best be healed in relationships.  We role played numerous group situations and practiced dealing with challenging people.  We were reminded that to be healers, we don’t respond in defensiveness but with honesty, firmness and caring.  We search for the reason behind angry words, brusk blow offs and sullen remarks and find the pain.

And we stay aware for our need for healing.  For me, after a visit with cranky weather man, I will call my nurturing mom who will talk about the cold and snow or anything else for as long I as want to.  I will celebrate an unexpected warm day with a fun, fast, four mile walk with Barbara at Carrier Park.  I will make plans to bundle up and meet Beth for lunch.  She will totally resonate with trying to engage with cranky patients.  These healing moments will strengthen me for another round of non-weathery conversation.

Anne Lamott speaks right into my soul every time I read her words. 
“I think joy and sweetness and affection are a spiritual path. We're here to know God, to love and serve God, and to be blown away by the beauty and miracle of nature. You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play. You don't have time to carry grudges; you don't have time to cling to the need to be right. ...most of the time, all you have is the moment, and the imperfect love of the people around you.” 


  1. Love the quote! I resonate deeply with this post. It's a beautiful thing to be surrounded by loved ones after grouchy encounters, eh? People are bruised for sure--including ourselves. I'm so glad that some of the world's wounded have a kind soul to minister to them (that would be you) even if they don't want to hear about the weather. :)

  2. Sorry about grouchy! My first reaction was to tell him "I frequently talk about weather because I'm out in it every day (slush, black ice, sub-zero temperatures, snow drifts) for people like YOU! But then after unruffling my feathers, I'm going with the wise Anne Lamott-that's not the path we want to walk and, yes, we don't have time for it. Wonderful reminder, wonderful ministry! M2