My friend Mary will probably die within a week. At 96, she’s lived a rich, full life. When I visited her yesterday morning, I asked if she would like me read scripture, or sing to her, or whatever. Barely audible, she answered, “Just be with me.” We were reminiscing and I mentioned Judy, who had been a very close friend until a falling out several years ago. I asked Mary if she would like me to call Judy. “Please.” Judy was surprised to hear that Mary wanted to see her again. Since Judy no longer drives, I volunteered to give her a ride. She explained that Mary had gotten angry with her, shouting, “I never want to see you again!” when Judy sold her house and moved to a retirement complex in the next town. Judy was a little apprehensive as she walked into Mary’s house, but when Mary saw her, she smiled and welcomed her. They reminisced for more than 30 minutes, with Judy kissing Mary on her forehead when she left.
When all is said and done, it’s person-to-person connection that matters. “Just be with me.” That is as true in the workplace as it is in a hospice room. What each person in a workplace wants is to be valued as a person. Not for what they can do, but because they are infinitely valuable as a unique human being. It’s that simple.
(Although I am taking August off from officially blogging, this blog insisted on being posted now.)