Our Narrative Medicine session this month was based on an experience that a then medical student had in Honduras with a renowned surgeon and his perspectives on what happened. The piece was called Imelda and focused on a young girl with a cleft palate, who dies before getting surgery. The student sees and reflects on the reactions of the patient’s mother as well as the surgeon.
As part of Narrative Medicine, we are given a prompt related to this humanities piece and given 5 minutes to free write.
Our prompt was to write about an Act of Kindness.
As I sit there, staring at the blank paper, the wheels in my head start turning…
Is this an act I did for someone else?
Is this an act that someone else did for me?
Is this an act that you witness between other people?
It’s hard to say if one matters more than the others.
- Spending an extra 20 minutes with a patient even when you are already running an hour behind, knowing that you won’t be recognized for this small act; and ultimately might even lose productivity.
- Allowing others to speak.
- Being present in the moment.
- Reaching out unprovoked to that friend that you know can struggle from time to time.
- Opening your heart and mind to other people’s thoughts and feelings.
- Cleaning off the snow on someone else’s car.
- Donating your time/food/clothes.
- Using your talents to help others in a way that others may not be able to.
- Being open and honest in a constructive, non-judgmental way.
- Being able to take feedback without feeling resentment or disappointment.
- Not complaining about little things.
- Not letting big things weigh you down.
- Inviting someone out that may be too shy or quiet to involve themselves in social activities.
- Remembering a factoid about someone else, and sending them a message when you find a reason to remember it.
- Remembering someone’s birthday (and sending them a quick message).
So many of these “acts” are not going to be recognized or acknowledged by others. To me, those are the true Acts of Kindness.
The ones that you don’t see posted all over social media.
The ones that make your heart feel with joy.
The ones that leave your mark on the world.
The ones that remind us about the “Golden Rule”.
Kindness is whatever you want it to be.
WHAT IS “KINDNESS” FOR YOU?
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE WORDS ABOVE?