I’ve used Patsy Clairmont’s name as an instructional tool in my home for years. When I heard her speak for the first time at a Women of Faith conference years ago, I sat transfixed, completely and utterly speechless. That hardly ever happens if you know me.
Her speech at the WOF conference was about how people are walking around everyday in pain and we simply don’t know it. There are people with obvious markers/signs you can see. A cast, crutches, a wheelchair, white cane, or a handicap placard on their vehicle. Maybe someone has told you they recently had surgery, are in pain, undergoing chemotherapy, psychotherapy, or grieving for someone they’ve recently lost. Some people are good at communicating stuff like that.
There are also the Patsy Clairmont's, and a whole world of other people out there in pain who are crying on the inside and smiling on the outside. Those are the ones I have been talking to my family about all these years.
My Godfather, Tony Pierno once told me, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease Jodi.” He who screams loudest wins, right? Well, what if we are talking about broken wheels that make no sound. Those broken wheels aren’t giving us any warning. Scary thought, isn’t it?
Patsy Clairmont has a serious disease. She told the 50,000+ WOF attendees at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California about it. The arena was jam packed that day. It was rough navigating around to get to the snack bars and the restrooms. She was speaking before a break and wanted to warn people. She told us how she is in constant pain, and how simply being jostled in a crowd can cause her unbearable pain. She wanted us to know, so if she was trying to get to the Ladies Room during a break in the program, people would be careful. How many times have we all carelessly bumped into someone and simply said, “Excuse me.” That day, as I listened to Patsy, I sat and wondered if I’d ever run into anyone who was hurting, and I didn’t know it.
It’s been a goal of mine since hearing Patsy speak to pass along her message to my family and friends. People don’t necessarily come with markers or signs. Some people won’t tell you they are in pain, are grieving, are undergoing treatments, or have a serious illness. Pain comes in varying types; physical as well as emotional. Sometimes pain can be seen, other times it is well concealed.
I’ve asked my family to go out into the world and be careful with others. Treat each person with kindness, love and respect. You don’t know what is going on in that person’s life. It might only be 8:00 a.m., but you don’t know what has already happened in that person’s day. You don’t know what is going on in that person’s world. Their world might be filled with well concealed pain; they could be dodging emotional darts, possibly caring for a sick person, or what if they got some crushing news that morning? We have got to be more careful and gentle with everyone.
Patsy Clairmont has inspired me to be kinder. I want everyone else to try too. If you are the person at the market being unkind to a Cashier, yes, I am going to tell you stop being rude, and be nice. If you are the customer talking down to a server, yes, I am going to ask you to be more considerate to those who serve you. If you are the impatient driver behind me honking because I am not turning right, yes, I am going to turn around and tell you to stop honking because I am allowing someone to use the crosswalk. If I wonder what I can do to help you I am not going to say, “Call me if I can do anything to help.” I’m going to show up and do something. I promise.