The Vice President

I recently watched a documentary on Prime Video called The Antidote.  It’s about kindness.  Now is probably a good time for all of us to consider that word:  kindness.

Kindness really isn’t about being nice to people you like, it is more active than being polite.  It takes action and perhaps action with people you don’t have that much in common with. 

The Antidote follows several stories of people and organizations that are truly working to serve others.  Two of the stories jumped out at me.

The first is Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, a medical clinic that serves people who live in abject poverty.  The staff walk the streets of Boston finding homeless folks who need medical care.  When they take these people to their clinic, the first thing the medical staff do is wash the patients’ feet.  They actually remove their often damp socks and shoes, get on their knees and soak and WASH their feet.  They say that this act, physically kneeling before these people, changes the dynamics – building trust.

I don’t even like to touch my own feet, much less the feet of someone I don’t know!  Imagine how meaningful that could be to someone who is often overlooked, ignored, or looked down upon.

The other vignette that stood out to me was of a community that has fully embraced people with disabilities.  The Center for Discovery in Sullivan County, NY, provides care for adults and children with the most complex medical disabilities.  One of the participants in the program shares her experience.  She says, “They are listening to what I have to say.”  She then describes a group of about eight friends who convene weekly at the Pickled Owl restaurant.  They call themselves the Self Advocacy Group.  This participant proudly boast:  “I am the Vice President (of the group).”  She is so proud.

I was touched by how simple it is to make someone feel relevant and loved.  Listening – making people feel heard.  It’s not that hard.  And don’t we all want to be the Vice President of something? 

Years ago I was the Sargent at Arms of my 7 AM rotary club.  I hated the early meetings, but dang, I was THE Sargent at Arms!  I bet there aren’t that many people who can boast that they have held that position.

I’m wondering how I, how we, can give more people the opportunity to be the Vice President… of something.  It just can’t be that hard.

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