Compassion has been at the forefront of my mind these days. Not necessarily the notion but the feeling - the way it feels to be on the receiving end of compassion. Specifically, working with and in conjunction with many health care providers in managing my sons chronic health condition. Something I knew nothing about 3 years ago.
This situation has provided me quite a few 'first experiences' many of which I do not think I have handled extremely well. The opportunity to try my best and still miss the mark since there isn't really any 'arriving' or 'winning' available and it is in fact not even part of the game. The name of the game is showing up, trying your best and knowing that is the minimum of what can be done but will erase nothing, chronic is chronic.
However, as with most challenges, there are aha moments and gifts to be garnered along the way. I was lucky enough to have a few of these moments recently. These experiences made me realize that the quality I admire most in a health care professional is not precision, degrees or accolades but compassion. Sure you want a provider to know their stuff and serve you well but for me compassion needs to be present also to feel completely satisfied.
I came to this realization last week when one of the professionals we work with said to me - I really feel for you, I would be a 'basket case' if I had to deal with what you do. And yet another said - I don't know how I would handle it, I really feel for you. Now you might think this would make me uneasy about their credentials & capabilities but the opposite is true - their candor in sharing what was in their heart while working with me and my son made me feel more trust in their abilities instead of less.
Although this may seem very evident to many it was pretty monumental for me. The aforementioned providers did not think : I am health care professional and you are client and we will keep our distance in our roles. Instead, they looked me in the eye and 'said' - I am human and you are human and I feel for and with you, and that for me, is as good as it gets.