He was the last person on my list that I had to call to register before his appointment to see the surgeon next week for a consultation.
His case sounded familiar to me from 10 years ago when I started working at the cancer center on the surgical oncology floor where I entered the information for surgical oncology cases. 10 years ago, I was a naïve novice that shuddered in shock when I had reviewed and read the complex and crushing medical histories of people forced into the patient role. Eventually, the shock wears off and you become immune to how life weaves and works in ugly and beauty, defeat and defiance, and struggle and strength.
I was counting down the minutes, relieved that these past two weeks was finally going to be over. These past two weeks had been emotionally exhausting, mentally draining, and physically spent. Suffice to say, these were probably one of the worst weeks I had endured professionally of being forced back into New York City again with days starting and finishing in the darkness of 6AM to after 8PM. I’ve come to hate the commute to the city with such intensity that it is almost scary.
The worst part is I felt a complete lack of support from my closest circle of friends who did not ask or did not understand that I was about to breakdown. The best part is I felt a complete shock and surprise of support from people from my past and a couple from my present who checked in on me not to say and only to listen on my brink of breakdown. The profound part is the clarity that everyone has different gifts and experiences, which serve different purposes at different points in your life. You cannot expect from others and you can only hope.
He was 22-years-old. His voice was deep and husky. I’ve always been fascinated with voices. I, for one, disliked my voice, but I do think my voice would be good as a cartoon character! ;-) A certain image begins to form in my mind from their intonations, sound qualities, and highs and lows of pitches. Does this happen to you?
Just before I got off the phone, I asked him if he had any questions. “No,” he said slowly, “But, I do want to say something.”
Uh-oh. I put on my extra professional voice, “OK, how can I help you?”
“I just want to say that you have a really lovely voice. Thank you.”
There have been few and far times that I was left speechless. Usually when people give me compliments, I am at a loss for words, my face turns all hot and heated, desperation for a bucket of ice cold water to wash over me kicks in, and I turn all flustered and stumbled over my strangled response and behavior. I often try to bounce compliments off myself on to others. How do you do with compliments? When have you been left wordless and flustered? This time was just like all the others when I finally mustered, “Uhm…thanks.”
That’s when I realized that I had been “zapped.” And, it felt good. So good.
Let me tell you what "ZAP" is. It is a word I created. It is a word I hope to implement. “ZAP” is like an electric shock that jolts you into putting the routine, the mundane, the boring, the familiar into new and exciting perspectives of positivity and wanting and wishing to give good forward and make great. “ZAP” shakes up our life into something thrilling, joyful, and simply wonderful. “ZAP” leaves you silent and then ready to soar. One sentence. A compliment. Kind words. Simple and succinct. The little things that mean the most. The actions and words that totally throw you off for the better. The surprises of life and people in the best of ways. The spontaneous of moments. Anyone can ‘zap’ and you can ‘zap,’ too. When have you experienced “zap” by a stranger or familiar face and friend or family member? Or, better yet, when have you “zapped” others? "ZAP" is something that we need to do more often than not.
We were only voices on the phone. Words were our power. On my final day that wrapped up two weeks of complete chaos, crazy, and funny that was filled with the unexpected experiences and loads of learning of lessons, this one young man had ‘zapped’ me. He made my day and made the difference. He put me into new and needed perspectives that what we do (or do not do) and what we say (or do not say) have such ripple and life effects.
I hope others ‘zap’ you. I hope you ‘zap’ others. Most of all, I hope you keep on ‘zapping’ as you go forth in life.
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,