Being a Team Lead on Sunday mornings gives me ample opportunities to visit with members while performing my duties. On one of those mornings I was stationed in the office between services to answer the phone or questions from members who stop in. During that time, in walked a member that I routinely converse with and exchange a little guff. I asked how he was doing this morning, expecting to get a joking reply, but instead I got an “I’ve had better days” response. The look on his face was sad and I could tell right away this was no joke. I stared at him, while my mind raced for the next thing to say, it seemed like five minutes had elapsed. I was completely taken aback by his reply and could only muster a “well…”, as he walked out of the office.
I was uncomfortable. What was I supposed to say without being intrusive to his situation? How could I have given him support? I struggled with this interaction for the rest of the morning talking to several other members and staff to see if they knew of any present issues. In fact I had another member who went to investigate and returned with “he gave me the same answer”.
I brought up this situation to our Care Board Advisory meeting and Pam Dinneen gave me a few examples on how I might handle an interaction like this. It wasn’t about knowing what is right or wrong to say, but letting him know that I was there for him and that I care. I know this won’t be the last of these types of interactions, but I at least have some guidance on how to handle the next situation. I pray I get those right!