At one of the sites I work at, there is a man who is jolly. Jolly is not a word you hear much these days, but it is the only word that truly fits him. He is a joker and his good nature delights the clients we serve. He makes people laugh. I watch him, and I like this about him very much.
At some point, he said something smart to me, and being me, I said something smart right back at him, which he wasn't expecting (he don't know me vewy well, do he?), but I could see that I had tickled him.
So the other day, I was wheeling one of my clients to the therapy room and blabbing a blue streak to him, because that is MY nature, and he stopped me. "We really haven't had a chance to meet," he said. "We've just exchanged buffoonery in the hall..." and I said, "Well, I happen to be a real fan of buffoons, so I'm pleased to meetcha!" and we laughed together in a comfortable way.
He began to explain his behavior, and I said, "Listen. You connect with people in a very real way. I love to watch you in action. You are not a buffoon. You are a clown of God."
His face grew very still and very suddenly, he was wiping tears from his face. He was crying. This time it was me who was caught unawares. I gaped a little, and said, "I did not mean this in any kind of a bad way," and at the same time he said, "No. It's not that. It just shocked me that somebody noticed. I'm really honored."
That is my gift. I'm starting to see it plainly. I notice things. I see the small details.
We spoke about a consumer, and I made my comments. My co-worker suddenly grabbed my badge. "I would have never expected THAT name," he said (not sure what he meant by that...), but off he went to talk with the manager. I was asked to attend a meeting to bring my perspective to the table. This was a little unexpected and I said, "Listen, I'm going to be perfectly honest here. I'm not sure how much weight my opinions would carry with clinicians. I'm not sure why, but I just don't mesh well with them. I try really hard because the job means an awful lot to me, but..."
And the clown of God stood before me with the strangest smile on his face.
I stopped talking, and he leaned forward as if to impart a great secret to me. "You connect with the patients just like I do. You don't fit with clinicians because...it's simple...you are NOT a clinician." He reached forward to give me a hug. "...and that is what makes all the difference."
Could it really be that simple?
I stood there stupidly, and this time it was my eyes blinking rapidly.