I write what I hope is an uplifting, inspirational newsletter to my on-line community every Sunday. It has a pretty general structure of four paragraphs and although years ago I was writing close to 1000 words per essay, I noticed that a lot of people were not reading because, even though I tried to make it entertaining, it was just too long. So I shortened it and find that the more condensed version actually takes me longer to write because I need to find the exact word for what I want to express. It is not an easy task but I have been getting more engagement. Here is a recent, edited example:
I have been spending a lot of time in the public hospital system accompanying my father to his appointments. The public hospitals’ installations are decrepit, the atmosphere is gloomy, the wait is long and the conversations range from complicated medical terminology to the latest developments in our national soccer or politics. I usually have my book or newspaper to pass the time, but this is one place where people watching is more entertaining and educational.
At the conclusion of my father’s last visit, it was determined that he needed to have an operation. Prior to the operation, he needed to have some tests which included giving blood samples. As we waited in the room for him to be called, he asked if I would get him a bottle of water, assuring me that he felt fine and did not mind waiting alone for a few minutes until I returned. He was called to the tiny cubicle as I was making my way out to purchase the water. I caught a glimpse of a young pregnant woman helping him take off his jacket. I chided myself silently that I hadn’t thought to do it myself but proceeded to get the water so that I could be back before he was done. I rushed to the nearest vendor and came back quickly but my father was already back in the waiting area when I returned.
I offered him the water and asked how he was feeling. He told me about the young woman who had helped him with his jacket. He had mistaken her for an employee until he realized that she had blood taken from her immediately after he had. As he sat waiting, the small cotton ball they had given him to stop the flow of blood was completely soaked. She noticed this detail and asked for more cotton and adhesive tape to secure it. Then she helped him with his jacket and seeing him safely seated, she left. All this was done before I returned, which was less than five minutes.
I didn’t have a chance to thank this future mother for her kindness to my father. I spent a few minutes wondering what aspect of my father’s condition prompted this benevolence from a stranger. We left the area and headed to a different place where we had another long wait ahead of us. The room was full of senior citizens with a wide assortment of ‘conditions’, many were there alone. I felt shrouded in charity after our recent experience with a kind stranger. While I waited for my father to complete his errand, I administered whatever help was at my disposal (getting a chair, answering a question, making small talk). When I reviewed my day before I went to sleep, I felt the overwhelming sensation of peace that comes from living a good day.
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