I was practically supine on the floor in the middle of a big rearranging project when a customer asked me for books about death. I told him that we had a Death and Grieving section – did that sound like what he was looking for? “Well, my mother’s dying,” he said, trying for a hint of dark humor, “so I guess that’s for me.”
The section was way across the store, and there was somebody there to help him, but I just didn’t want to put one more jot of concern on his shoulders. So I took him over, gave him suggestions, searched for some books, sent someone down to receiving to fetch something that had just come in. Sure, that’s my job, but in this case, I simply wanted to know first-hand that he was taken care of well before he left.
Finally, I told him I had to get back to my post, and left him in someone else’s capable hands. I touched him on the arm and said, “I’m so sorry for your troubles.” That’s all. But then he knew I’d been there, too. He looked a little startled, and replied, “Thanks. Thank you so very much.”
It doesn’t sound like much of a story here on paper, but you all know what I’m getting at: compassion and just “showing up” comes in the most unusual guises.