“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
One of the memories that is always present to me was a time I went to the emergency room with my mother and her mother. My grandmother had been living with us in her later years. As she aged, her skin became thinner and would tear easily. One morning, she slipped in the bathtub. Thankfully, she did not break any bones; however, she tore her skin on her arm. There was a large flag of skin dangling and we needed to get medical attention to care for her wound.
By this time, my grandmother’s senility was more severe. She had pretty much forgotten a lot of things. She forgot who came to see her, what she had to eat, and all sorts of other recent memories. She had been living at our home for several years by this time and my mother, her youngest daughter, was her primary caregiver.
At the hospital, before they took her for x-rays and a CT scan, she was telling my mother and me about how she had seen Jenny and Stelle several times over the past few days but was upset because Helen never came to visit her anymore. After crying about that for a little while, my grandmother looked at my mom and said, “But I like you. You always take care of me.”
When they wheeled her out for tests, my mom began to sob. She was the “Helen” of whom my grandmother had spoken. She was the one whom Grandma claimed never visited her. Her other daughters, Jenny and Stelle, never came over. One lived in Arizona and the other was too ill to come around. Needless to say, my mom was very upset. I asked her why she was so upset. She looked at me as if I were a complete idiot and said, “Didn’t you hear her?! She doesn’t even know me. She thinks I never visit her.”
What I said in return made her think. I said, “You’re right. However, what DID she say to you? She said that ‘You’re the one who takes care of her.’ Isn’t that more important to you? She knows that you love her even if she no longer knows who you are.”
Apathy, hate, and love are impossible to hide. They might be disguised for a short period of time; but, eventually, they are seen for what they are. People might not know our intentions. They might forget what we have said or done. But they will never forget how we made them feel. They will remember whether we were apathetic, hateful, or filled with love. That is how we can make our mark on this world.
When all the words and deeds are said and done, how do we make people feel?
FAITH ACTION: Say or do something for others today that conveys your care and concern for them.