There is a nurse who answers the phone often at Sloan Kettering. We have never seen each other that I know of. I remember countless short conversations that we have had, and she always calls me “love.”
“Hold on for one sec, love”
“Have a nice day, love”.
It hit me the last time we spoke, months ago. She said it, like she always had, and I started to weep. She probably says this to every person, but it didn’t matter. I felt it. I felt the love. I felt the sincerity, and I felt seen, held. It reminded me that any action, no matter how small, can make a great impact.
Since that conversation and realization I have been adopting her phrase more regularly. At first it felt false, insincere- I’d get a hit of my judgmental mind shouting “you’re not the kind of person who calls people love. You aren’t open like that. You keep your distance.” But slowly it has become a new norm.
Since becoming a mother I recognize another part of myself opening- the woman who shows love through touch. Loving touch. Even a small gesture, a circular motion across a friend’s upper back, releases a wave of tension away. Don’t underestimate a show of love, however small.