It has become a tradition of mine to offer at the closing of a chapter of another’s book a few words of transition, a glimpse from my perspective at the impending change to their perspective. And so, if my boldness may be taken for nothing more than gratitude, I would like to share with you this quick reflection on the short time our paths have crossed and the fork that your walk is next leading you down.
I remember the first time I saw you. You came to our table with the intensity and focus of an officer making an arrest, not to imply you were anything other than the perfect hostess. It was evident from the moment you walked up that our order would be taken, in the sense that it was no longer something with which we should concern ourselves as it was now in your possession.
I also remember being so startled by your approach that it spurred a fight or flight response. You asked if I needed another beer. I responded I wasn’t sure if “need” was the right word. You may have thought I was being cute, but defensive might be more appropriate. You smiled and asked if I wanted another beer. Ah, well, yes then. And from that first moment, I was hooked on fishing for your smile.
I would have been happy if the only special treatment I ever received was the occasional smile. You come to my table to chat even when you’re not waiting on me. You smile at me from across the room even if I haven’t bubbled up to the top of your to do list. You always make it a point to say goodnight and make sure I know your next shift. You give me water even though it lowers my tab and your tip. You left your phone with me while you made your rounds so I could answer a question you could have easily answered yourself.
You go out of your way, well above what could be expected of your role, to make me feel welcome, trusted, and served. But above all these things you have gratuitously shared, there is one gift you have given that eclipses all the rest. I love our conversations.
Don’t get me wrong, when I see you turn towards me, when I can see that your mental list has just bumped me up to the top spot, it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. You are so clear in your intent; it’s humbling and exhilarating to be the target of that kind of focus. In the split second your eyes lock with mine, your smile starts to dawn across your face and you take that first step in my direction, I’d swear the whole world stops. I know it has nothing to do with me, and it’s ridiculous to take it so personally, but in that moment I feel like the king of everything.
So, when I say that our 30 second conversations where we barely even get to finish a complete thought are more valuable to me than the way you make me feel when I’m the next item in the queue, please understand that I can truly think of no higher compliment.
Our conversations have been a catalyst for change in my world. I won’t waste your time with the details; let it simply suffice to say that my life is different because you took the time to share your optimism and confidence with me.
And during the course of these chats I have been given the tiniest peek into who you are. Make no mistake, I have learned that anything I think I know about you is at best a gross understatement. But you clearly have a fantastic work ethic, a strong sense of self and purpose, and a code of ethics that seems even more refined than mine. In short, I am impressed with this woman I have come to admire and respect, whose opinion I have learned to trust and appreciate.
If I can gather all that from a dozen snippets of conversation, your patients will be blown away by their treatment. You are so clearly designed to be a doctor that I can only be embarrassed at ever thinking your mornings were spent as a yoga instructor.
So, on this last night we have shared, thank you. I am more grateful than I could say, and certainly more than I could give. You are already missed, and will not be quickly forgotten.
Until our paths cross again, smile.
Posted with : Offering