Sacred Stories | I Thought You Might Need a Hug

“The compass of God implanted in the seeker’s heart stretches toward truth and signals the way to justice…These seekers hear the voice of God in the cry of the poor and oppressed, and they ‘immediately put aside their own concerns’ and follow God’s call in their actions.” – Joan Chittister, OSB, The Monastery Of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life

I was walking down the hall when I saw a woman who worked in our unit that I’ll call Norma, leaning on the wall outside the elevators, waiting for one to open. I stopped to chat. She said she was waiting for a woman she thought would be stepping off the elevator soon. Norma said the woman seemed upset when she got on the elevator, and Norma wanted to make sure she was OK.

Just at that moment, the elevator doors opened and a woman stepped off. She was obviously upset; she had the face of a person who had been crying. As she passed, she looked down at the ground. Norma asked if she was OK. The woman did not look up, but quietly said, “Yes,” and kept walking. “I thought you might need a hug,” Norma gently responded.

The woman, now 10 steps beyond us, turned and literally ran into Norma’s arms. She began sobbing so hard that her body shook. Norma said nothing as she held the grief-stricken woman. I smiled at Norma and went on my way. I don’t know how long they stood there together; the silence broken only by the woman’s tears.

This encounter touched my heart deeply. Observing this simple act of human touch filled me with a sense of peace. It is the perfect example of why CommonSpirit employees and patients know they’ve come to the right place.

Submitted by Robin George

Questions for Reflection

When was the last time you listened deeply with your heart?

How did you respond? What was the impact—for you and for others?

About Sacred Stories

As CommonSpirit Health, we make the healing presence of God known in our world by improving the health of
the people we serve, especially those who are vulnerable, while we advance social justice for all.

Sacred Stories convey ways our mission is being lived out by the gifted people in our ministry. We invite you to
use these stories for inspiration, as a meeting reflection, or to encourage discussion with your team.