As each new unrelated event happened, coworkers would look at each other and say, “What is going on?” Some people decided that it was the effect of a solar eclipse. It probably wasn’t.
At the theoretical end of my shift, as I was walking back to the office down a back hallway, a nurse said, “You’re going the wrong way. You need a little desk in our area.” She was almost right, given the day. And she was teasing. But we had a good and honest and helpful conversation about our work. And I felt less crushed.
Later, in another area in the hospital, I was waiting for a coworker to copy a document. Someone said, “You need this,” and handed me a cookie, double chocolate. The kind that my friend Kent calls “energy bars.” I was grateful. When I walked back through the unit I told her why.
I remembered the words of one of our Environmental Services coworkers. “People in our department get tired of cleaning up messes,” he said. “Sometimes they start complaining about the patients. And I remind them that even on our worst days of work, we get to walk out of the hospital and go home. Our patients don’t.”
I think that when we read Jesus saying, “Love one another”, we think big, expensive, dramatic thoughts. And that may be true. But most of us are in the middle of really long days doing work that we love and that often costs us more than we want to acknowledge to each other. And what we need to offer and receive is conversation and compassion and courage. And occasionally, chocolate chip cookies.
Nothing more. But nothing less.