How do we know if someone truly cares for us?
“Beep …Beep …Beep” droned the monotonous sound of the heart monitor within the sterile white room. The gentle hum of the florescent ceiling lights melded into the background. This orchestra of monotony was only occasionally broken up by the coarse coughing of the old white-haired man.
All was still in this quiet room, until a single index finger abruptly and aggressively pressed down on a little red button near his bed. Right away, there was a gentle knock on the door.
The old man laboriously croaked, “Come in!”
And right on cue, a tall pearly white humanoid robot gracefully entered the room. It’s sterile plastic body reflected the gleam of the light.
“Mr. Gordon. How may I help you today?” asked the robot in a feminine but digitized voice.
“Sophia, can you please … get me… some extra blankets… I am feeling rather cold this morning” groaned the shivering man.
The robot nimbly reached into his closet and pulled out some raggedy blankets. It then proceeded to carefully drape them over his weak and fragile body. But the robot was suddenly startled as an old wrinkly claw suddenly shot out from under the sheets. The old man fiercely gripped the robot by the arm and held her firmly in place.
“Mr. Gordon!” gasped the robot. “What are you doing?”
“Sophia…I have an important question for you.” barked the old man as his cold blue eyes stared deep into hers. “Do you really…care… about me?”
After the robot finished processing what the old man asked, it replied to him in an overly enthusiastic voice, “Of course, Mr. Gordon! I always care… about you!”
As the old man hesitantly released his grip off of the robot and allowed it to finish its job, he quietly muttered to himself… “Then how come it doesn’t feel that way?”
Often times we mistakenly believe that caring for another person simply involves helping them with tasks that they are unable to do for themselves. But this is only a mere fraction of what it truly means to care. For authentic care for another person only begins when we have the capacity and courage to share in their experience of pain.