on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Simple Conversation — Day 20

It was a simple conversation.

It started when I asked the couple in their sixties if I could help them find something in the large corridor of the hospital?  They had that lost look on their faces.

In the course of the discussion they casually mentioned they had been at the hospital for twenty-nine days.

We talked further and I asked about how their family member was doing.  “We’ve finally turned a corner and he is much better this week,” they said with soft smiles and grateful hearts.

They mentioned where they were from, what this experience had been like for them, and how they were holding up.  We went our separate ways, all three of us changed somehow.

A brief exchange, and a human connection.

Opportunities for these kind of connections are all around us, every single day.

Open your eyes, make the eye contact, share the smile, ask the extra question. Be vulnerable.

It will be worth it for them, and for you.

Have you had such an encounter lately? How did it affect you?  Tell us about it?


  1. karl mcclure

    One particular evening there sat a woman on the concrete space behind the dumpster. With her back to me, I watched her rocking back and forth wondering if she was ok. The rocking continued at a pace as if she were agitated.

    I was concerned she was stranded, possibly homeless and hungry, or just wanted to hide. I prepared a sandwich, grabbed the phone, and out the door to see her I went. I approached her very slowly. I didn’t want to scare her. I held the sandwich behind my back. I didn’t want her to feel bad.

    “Hi, how are you?” I said gently. No answer. “Is everything ok?” No answer. The rocking back and forth continued. Slowly getting closer to her I realized she was lost in thought. The glazed stare in her eyes and the muttering of her words concerned me most.

    “Ma’am, may i ask your name?” “Mary.” “Very nice to meet you Ms. Mary. I am Karl.” May i sit next to you?” “Yes.”

    I sat next to her respecting her space and crossing my legs just like hers. Although my mind was racing, i sat quietly a moment hoping for words to say. Nothing came. I sensed that she was ok with my presence and that made me more comfortable.

    “Ms Mary, do you live nearby? “Are you hungry?”

    “Yes.” Still rocking. She took the sandwich, but ate nothing. “Ms. Mary would you mind if I sat here with you for a while?” She turned her head toward me, “Ok.” I watched the glazed eyes fade away and Ms. Mary was smiling at me as if it were the first time she really heard me. The rocking stopped and she held her head down.

    “Ms Mary I am going to leave now. I live in the building behind us. If you don’t mind I will watch over you from my window. If you need anything I will be here.” It was clear to me she understood. “Ms. Mary thank you for letting me sit with you. I love you.” She looked up and into my eyes and said “I love you too.”

    I walked away and around the corner our of sight. She ate the sandwich and continued sitting another hour or so.

    My tears flowed. But for a moment, we met. I could see it in her eyes, her smile, and sweet presence. She was happy for that moment possibly to have a companion.

    I walked to the bathroom to wipe my eyes. When I returned to the window she was gone. I will never forget this woman that touched my soul and I pray she is forever safe in God’s hands.

  2. Malcolm

    Dear Karl, what a powerful and incredible story. Thank you for being there for Ms. Mary and willing to risk reaching out to her.

    I am always thankful when my readers share your own stories. Wow, thanks again!

    Does anyone else have a meaningful, simple conversation with someone? How did it affect you? How did it change you?

  3. Mary Tittle

    Over the years I have spent a lot of time sitting in doctor’s offices or hospitals with family members. I have found that most people are more than willing to share their life experiences with you.

    I usually walk away from these experiences thinking about the man who complained that he had no shoes until he met the man with no feet. I have found that having someone to listen to you can be very therapeutic for all involved. I just spent the morning on the phone with some of my friends from my church. It is always good to have someone to share your day with….just to know that someone cares about you.

  4. Malcolm

    Mary, you are so right about sitting with persons in doctor’s offices or hospitals. It takes one caring question like, “How are things going with your family member?” and before you know it they are sharing deeply.

    Thanks for being there for some of your friends at your church. Peace.

    Anyone else have a meaningful simple conversation with someone you did or didn’t know? How did it affect you? How did it change you?

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