Agents of Ourselves: Part Thirty-Two

Last week, Yvonne Jones, Laura StaleyMaribel Cardez, Tom Dietzler, and I opted to postpone our writing workshop, Finding Your Voice, until this week. We did it so I could accompany my wife, Anne, on her visit with a surgeon.

Apparently, in her younger years, Anne had a convertible, which she loved to drive with the top down and her hair pulled back. The bad news is it caused a basal-cell carcinoma on the top of her left ear. The good news is it’s easily removed with something called Mohs surgery. The really good news is Mohs surgery is dramatically different from Curly’s surgery.

Little did I know Anne and I would discover aspects of our agency in that one visit.

You’d never know it from looking at her, but Anne is a tough kid. As the surgeon explained her options, she was deliberate and decisive. She’ll have the cancer removed by the surgeon we saw on Wednesday, then we’ll drive to the office of a plastic surgeon to minimize the disfiguration of her ear. She didn’t even flinch when she made those calls. She was a little emotional afterward. But that’s because she’s human, and she understands minor surgery is what happens to the other guy.

As for me, that simple gesture of accompanying Anne (she’d do the same for me without hesitation) meant more to me than I imagined it could because it meant more to Anne than I imagined it would.

Sometimes I think few of us experience miracles because we look for them in the wrong places. We expect them to be big, momentous, easily noticeable. They’re not. They’re subtle. And they occur in the simplest of moments.

Going to the doctor with Anne was my second reminder in a week of how precious time is.

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Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brienhttps://obriencg.com/
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.


  1. Best of recoveries to Anne, Mark, what a lovely love letter.

    I am reading a little philosophy these days. Your post tasted beautifully of Kierkegaard who speaks of “moments” as instances where our inner and outer worlds meet in the best of ways. We can’t catch them, and we can’t analyze them, and mostly we can’t describe them because they happen outside of words. May you have many more.