I work in healthcare. One of the aspects of my job is helping people manage a medication that requires frequent lab work and dose adjustments. Part of that management is advising people when or how soon to come back for a recheck and possible dose adjustment.
Some people come back whenever I ask them to come back. Some try to bargain. Some do not come back for as long as possible and require phone calls and letters to remind them to come into the clinic. One particular patient I work with may wait two weeks to two months later than recommended for office visits. When he does come in I always thank him for being there and we move forward with the visit. I have never scolded him or gotten angry with him for not coming into clinic as some of my colleagues do. He is an adult and it is his decision when to come in for a recheck – he can follow recommendations that are based on what I think would be safest for him or he can do what he chooses to do.
Why am I telling you about this? Well, because taking care of your car can be similar to managing a medication. My car requires oil changes and basic maintenance. The place where I get my oil changed always gives me a sticker with a recommendation for when to return for the next oil change based on time or number of miles. When I finally brought my car in for my most recent oil change I was about 5 months and 500 miles overdue.
Now why am I telling you about getting the oil changed in my car? How do these 2 things relate? Well, it is quite simple. As I pulled into the car care center the man who took my car and checked me in and noted that I was overdue but said “thank you for coming in today to get your car taken care of” was my patient. The same patient who is often overdue for visits with my clinic. The same patient I have never been cross with for being delayed coming back. And I felt the strangest sense of grace and irony.
So if I were my own best friend I would remind myself to practice grace throughout life when interacting with people. You never know what is going on in another person’s life – why they are late, why they are angry, why they are not at their best. And you never know when that same person may offer you grace in return.