“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
– Brandon Sanderson
In today’s guest blog, Lori’s weaves a tale that will provoke questions and leave you thinking about how you interact with friends, family, and even people you do not know!
I grew up on a family farm in Northwest Iowa during an era when the American countryside was dotted with small consolidated schools for the rural children. After high school graduation, I attended Iowa State University where I met my husband while pursuing a degree in education. I taught school in Iowa, Illinois, California, and Manitoba, Canada before moving to Minnesota to continue teaching and working as an interior designer.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago, and, faced with a year-long-infusion treatment, I began writing and photographing to record my thoughts and observations. To simplify communication with family and friends, I began sharing my writings. Here is one of them:
Two weeks ago when I was in for my second biopsy, I had this nurse. She was a lovely person, one of the nicest I had met over the past month. She asked me if I wanted a warm blanket. No, I did not want a warm blanket, because I wasn’t cold. So she didn’t give me a warm blanket. Later, she took my hand and held it the entire time during the biopsy. I did not want her to hold my hand, but she didn’t ask me, so I let her hold my hand. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was what she thought I wanted or what she needed. It would have been embarrassing to try to remove my hand from her hand, so that is why I let her hold my hand.
I asked my daughter about this experience and she thought she would not have wanted a warm blanket and she definitely wouldn’t have wanted her hand held. The next day my daughter told the story to her co-worker, Donna. Donna wouldn’t have wanted the warm blanket and her hand held. I told another friend the story, and he would’ve wanted the warm blanket, but no, he wouldn’t have wanted a stranger to hold his hand.
In this world there are any number of answers, and there is an answer for each person. There is no one right answer. That is why it is so difficult to know what to do, because sometimes we choose to do something because this is what we would want. We may assume the other person would want it too. It is important to ask and then respond accordingly.
I am sure I have erred many times doing the thing I thought someone wanted, but they did not want it at all. I am sorry for that. I suppose I am saying all this because I am learning to ask before proceeding.
I’m Lori Ernst and my recently released book, “Recliner Row” tells the story of my journey with cancer from the initial diagnosis through the treatment process. It covers not only the medical portion, but the interaction with family, friends, medical team, complete strangers, and the environment. I look forward to blogging for Firefly Sisterhood in the future!