I do not believe that any one quotation or phrase can be a complete philosophy or rule all human interactions. Still, we do tend to center our actions around small phrases which have large impacts, take “first do no harm” for physicians.
I am not a physician, but a midwife, wife and mother. In each of these aspects of my life I am extremely interested in promoting self esteem and expanding people’s idea of the limits of “I can.” I grew up in a family whose dysfunctions could have crippled anyone’s belief in themselves, but kept finding inspiration to grow. Growing beyond weakness is wonderful and I want to give it to everyone.
As a young woman I realized that every moment we spend with one another can have immeasurable effects, either good or bad. One phrase shared at the right moment can move someone forward in power and sense of self, the wrong one can hurt more than we know ( The amazing thing is that one can retrieve and take back the harmful ones but seldom the enhancing ones.)
So I try to take each moment and pause and think; How can I be gracious with this person, it is so simple to be kind and check out where someone is coming from before marching into my agenda for the meeting. Quakers say “there is that of god in everyone” I speak to others as though this were true. I use Ghandi’s maxim ” first is to be humble” and know that every moment is not all about me. But most importantly, I try to love each new person I work with genuinely. People respond to respect, and rise to the occasion when respected.
I am lucky because as a midwife I help new parents bring new people who are totally open into the world. but also as a nurse I work with aged and dying people who are learning to let go of life graciously. Life, death, newborns, the aged, I work with the most precious things on earth.
I believe that it only takes a moment to open a universe of hope, the tools are simple; graciousness, humility, and love. One never regrets an interaction where these tools are used, and why have a life filled with regret?
“A Universe of Hope,” Copyright © 2005 by Katy Maker. Part of the This I Believe Essay Collection found at www.thisibelieve.org, Copyright © 2005-2009, This I Believe, Inc. Reprinted with permission.