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Friday, February 20, 2009The Clementine
In her quest to make us better people my mother has always taught us that for every action there is an effect. People are affected by what we say and do no matter how inconsequential we consider our actions.Yesterday I had viable proof that the woman knows what she's talking about. So take heed people!
Last year I was walking down the hall of the clinic I intern at and I spotted one of our older clients. I’ve always liked the man he is sweet and soft spoken and every time I see him he makes me smile. I admit it I have a soft spot for the man. From the very first time I’d met him I’d sensed an aura of sadness and loneliness around him and because of this always went out of my way to greet him and talk to him before the start of our group sessions.
On this particular day I was rushing to a session when I saw him. As we walked past each other I pinky waved and smiled at him, “Hey would you like a Clementine?” He stopped dead in his tracks and seemed hesistant. “Stay right there” I told him as I ducked back into the office. Several seconds later I popped back out with a beautiful Clementine orange and handed it to him. “Here ya go, enjoy!” I said. He looked at the Clementine and then at me and gifted me with one of his rare smiles as I walked away.
Yesterday as I was getting ready to sit in on a group he came in looking for my mentor or his primary therapist, either one suited his purpose. I asked if he needed something and he explained that he’d been instructed by his group counselor to look into some support groups. I offered to help him since both his primary therapist and my mentor were busy elsewhere.
“Aren’t you busy?” he asked. “I’d rather help you” I said, “Come on let’s go into this empty office. I have my laptop with me.We can Google what you need.”
As we researched the support groups he was interested in and Googled directions he paused to look at me. “You know Mia I still remember the time you gave me that Clementine.”
To be honest I had forgotten all about it, to me it wasn’t a big deal. I'd remembered he loved oranges and because he adheres to a Kosher diet he couldn’t eat a lot of the snacks we keep on hand at the clinic that was all.
“ It tasted so good." he continued “But it was more than just an orange to me. It was the symbol behind it. I needed that that day. Seeing that you took the time to think about me and go back and get the orange just for me touched me. To me the act was an extension of friendship; it was an offering, physical proof about how much you truly care about us and I thank you for that.”
“It was nothing” I replied. He shook his head and smiled, “No, it was something and the fact the you do things like that all the time without realizing how you affect people makes it all the more special." The way he said it made my heart shift a little.
“Mia, you’re very helpful to people and there should be more people like you in this world. The world would be a much better place if there were more Mia’s in this world.”
That statement pretty much did me in.You have to realize that this was coming from a man who rarely speaks. He prefers to sit silent in the background as if he's afraid to be noticed and here he was sharing his feelings with me out of the blue. I had to look away and focus my eyes on the laptop screen because his words touched me so deeply I felt tears forming behind my eyes. My first impluse was to hug him but you know we have boundaries at my internship, things like that aren't allowed so instead I touched his shoulder and smiled. "Thank you" I said he ducked his head and smiled at me, "It was nothing." he replied in yiddish.
But it was something to me. His words came at a time when due to sensei I'd been filled with doubt about my choice of profession. Later on when he'd gone and I'd reflected on our conversation I realized that his heartfelt words had left an imprint on my heart. I knew that I’d remember that moment for the rest of my life. Just as my simple offer of the Clementine had affected him the sentiment of his words had affected me.
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