Friday, August 26, 2011

A different position.

There's something in the way she moves,
Or looks my way, or calls my name,
That seems to leave this troubled world behind.
If I'm feeling down and blue,
Or troubled by some foolish game,
She always seems to make me change my mind.

And I feel fine anytime she's around me now,
She's around me now
Almost all the time.
And if I'm well you can tell that she's been with me now,
and she's been with me now
Quite a long, long time
And I feel fine.

~ James Taylor "Something in the Way She Moves"

This month I cared for two different patients who, for the most part, had been completely healthy before being hospitalized. These patients were polar opposites in a lot of ways. . . . .one was an elder of a non-Christian faith with skin of deep espresso. He had the kind of medical problem that is super common and rather serious. . . .but also one that usually doesn't concern younger folks. Either way, he didn't let that frustrate him. He would smile with all of that peace oozing from him which always seems to be the case when I meet people of his faith.

The other patient was a man at least fifteen years my junior. His voice had a musical twang and his pale skin would flush every time I laid my stethoscope on his chest. The Holy Bible sat on his window sill and so did a Nascar racing magazine. He asked me if I knew anything about Jimmy Buffett because he was on the television above his head, and then laughed out loud at me when I asked, "Is that the guy with all the money?" I immediately wanted to take it back because three seconds later I remembered my friend talking about him and Margaritaville and such. Oh well. Jimmy Buffett, Warren Buffett. . . tomato tomah-to. . . picky-picky.  Either way, it sure made for some good fodder for me to bond with my patient and his wife that day on rounds.  (Jimmy Buffett fans are surely spitting out their coffee as we speak. . .)


They both had one major thing in common, though. Both had wives perched beside their beds every single time I came into the room. Every. Single. Time.


Not "wives" as in a big group of sisterwives or something like that. Errrr. Not that I have any strong opinions about sisterwife situations; I'm just clarifying what I'm saying. Anyways. Each man was accompanied throughout their hospitalization by his own wife. The entire time. The peanut butter to their jelly. The sho' to their nuff. The "o happy" to their day. And it was noticeable and special and inspiring.

So what was funny was how very different they appeared on the outside. The elder's wife smiling softly with layers of beautiful fabric covering all but her lovely face. Framing her twinkling eyes and smooth cocoa complexion. And then the Nascar-fan's better half. . . . sitting cross-legged in the bedside hair. She had stick straight hair pulled high into a tight pony tail that flipped from side to side every time she looked at her husband . . .framing her pristine porcelain skin that had been protected by (mostly) youth and (likely) judicious application of sunblock. But she too had those twinkling eyes.

See, the thing about them both is this: I always felt the same way every time I entered the room. Like the love was palpable, you know? I could feel the concern that these women were feeling for their loved ones, and the concern that the patients felt for their wives being concerned. And no. This wasn't about the fact that it was a man and a woman, either. What was striking was that it was love. Just pure and simple love.

This morning I'm reflecting on love. Pure and simple love. What I know for sure is that no matter how different we all appear on the outsides, on the inside--literally--our hearts are virtually indistinguishable. How we feel in our hearts starts off roughly the same, too. And just like those literal hearts, they can change with what we do to them. Life and upbringing try hard to morph our hearts from seeing love for what it is, but. . .  when (and if) we'd just step back and marvel at these tiny moments. . .  the truth always leaps out. . . .just like those twinkling eyes.

I sat on a parenting panel with a woman who had a small child with her same-sex partner. The animated movements of her hands and enthusiasm in her voice when speaking of her child was identical to my own. The crackling of her words when describing the first seconds when she saw her partner laboring with the baby was just like mine when reminiscing on Harry coaching me as the boys came into the world. So alike. But on the outside? So different.

That Grady elder said something to me that I stuck into my pocket to revisit later. He told me, "You know, we are so much more alike than we are different. As long as you have love in your heart, we are the same religion, the same color, the same everything."

And I am telling you. . . .as sure as I type this, those are the words he said. He went on to tell me that you have to position yourself to receive love. Position yourself to hear things like this from patients and to see good. He said that some folks don't have conversations like this because they don't bother to position themselves for this kind of thing. Hmmmm.

Position yourself to receive love?

I loved this concept and stuck this in the pocket over my heart.

Today? I'm going to try to position myself to receive more love. I'm going to watch and listen and look for the similarities and not just those differences. Yeah, man. That's what I'm going to do.

That's all I got today.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." ~ 1 Cor 13:13

Happy Friday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .one of the best songs ever.


  1. that's ALL you got???

    I love this post

  2. This is what I needed this morning. Thank you. And a big thanks to those patients. My brother sat in the ICU at Grady for 2 weeks at the age of 27 after triple bypass surgery a year and a half ago...I saw those people you speak of...and I just can't help but smile because Grady is awesome.

  3. So how exactly do you position yourself to receive love? As someone who has never been loved I have to ask: What does it feel like? Why is it so important? How do you get love from someone?

  4. You're striking a chord deep within me with all of your recent posts. Positioning yourself to receive love... Ain't that the truth!

  5. Wow, wow, wow! So true and I had so forgotten! I'm so busy protecting myself that I forget to open myself up to love. Thanks!!

  6. Ahhh...this hit me. How moving this post was and I too will "position myself to receive love" So beautiful...

  7. Beautiful post. The world would be a much better place if we could all be more mindful of the similarities we share.

    Anonymous - Although this blog post focused on love within a romantic relationship, as a single person I would say that "positioning yourself to receive love" means being open to love in all its forms, including with friends and family members. Our society is obsessed with romantic love, which can make us undervalue non-romantic relationships, but I personally have received a lot of love and satisfaction from my friends and family. Love is not the exclusive domain of people who are coupled off.

  8. Michelle -- Ha ha ha. . . I always "got" somethin'!

    Jessica -- I hope your brother is doing better. Thank you for sharing.

    Anon-- How do you position yourself? Hmmm. Here's my best guess. . .open yourself up to new people. Try hard not to judge. Forgive those who wronged you. Forgive yourself for what you have or haven't done. Love yourself unconditionally. . .

    Ant-- You always strike a cord with me.

    NOLA -- I read your blog. No, my dear. You have not forgotten. :)

    Steph-- Amen, for real!

    Ellen -- Let's do this together. . yeah!

    Solitary-- Yes. Yes. And yes. Even though I was referring to romantic examples, I totally was thinking about love in general. I am so glad you said that. In fact, I played James Taylor singing that song on my real iPod on the way to work and was thinking of my sisters, my mom, and especially some of my girlfriends.

    "And if I'm well, you can tell that (they've) been with me now. . and (they've) been with me now. . .quite a long, long time and I feel fine."


  9. All you got, is pretty damn fine. Thank you for this post. You are a doll, and I love you.

    Have a great weekend.


  10. Great post, Kim. I think we can all position ourselves to give and receive more is the greatest gift.

  11. I love you so much. You know. You get it. You are love.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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