Lessons

Compassion

This morning during my private talk with God in the quiet of my living room, I told him about this patient that I was dreading. Last time he was so arrogant, called me “girl” as if I was of no importance at all. The world revolved around him after all and I was just a female figure that he would use to get what he wanted – which was a new crown for his broken one – at my expense, I think. I believe he was trying to intimidate and manipulate me so that if I responded out of sympathy for his situation, he could then disappear and have his crown for free.


His arrogance just did not evoke feelings of sympathy from me at all. This younger man (maybe 40) addressing me (a woman almost old enough to be his mother) as “girl” and not in a complimentary way made me despise him. I really do not know if he dropped his shield of narcissism long enough to pick up the negative vibes his remarks caused.

This morning, I admitted to God just how much I did not want to see this man, how I did not like the feelings of intimidation; that I recognized my temptation to help anyone in distress made me a bit vulnerable here. I was talking to God about this more in a way that called “Help! Help me not to take on more than I can handle.” than in a way that said “Help, make him go away!” because I realize that people like this don’t just go away at my wish just because God and I are friends. Sometimes they stick around and I suspect they teach me lessons about life that I need to learn though having to deal with them.

I arrived at work this morning feeling ready to meet the challenge of this patient but not looking forward to it with any joy.

By 8:20 he still had not arrived. Usually we will still see a patient if they are 15 minutes late but we would need the two hours we’d allotted for his two crowns. 8:30 and he still had not arrived. 8:45 and we could not do the work if he decided to show up. We put our next patient in the chair and began on them. This guy, this loser, was just out of luck.

He did not come. He did not call. He’ll get a letter offering to refer him to a specialist. If he contacts us.

But I wonder, if God is trying to tell me something about compassion for the hard to love. I pity this man who seems to destroy relationships. He needs to run smack dab into the love of God somehow and begin to let his walls of arrogance begin to crumble so people can get close to him without getting hurt. He doesn’t need my pity so much as he needs a bit of hard nosed love that will help him deal with himself.

I didn’t have the opportunity to exercise this kind of compassion or any kind of compassion for his sad life today. At least I developed some pity – well hidden behind my huge relief that I did not have to deal with him this morning. Maybe God saved me from an unwanted experience today but also, God seems to have given me cause to reflect on myself and cause me to think on my need for compassion for the hard to love.

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