The “Givers” Ppppffffttt!
I am weary of people basking in their own virtues. Kindness, mercy, and love are obviously very, very important things and I am lucky to be surrounded by people who practice them on a regular basis. However….do any of you know people who do nothing but talk about their struggles and overcoming their struggles and dedicating themselves to other people and becoming champions for children and people in need and seem to have an incredible need for everyone to know how fabulous and selfless they are? I do, and I have thoughts on this. If you have to go out on your front porch or to the parking lot or into the staff lounge and blow your big loud trumpet about how dedicated you are…you may not be. Isn’t proclaiming your selflessness a bit of an oxymoron? If you want credit and accolades about being selfless, are you? Really? Here’s what I know for sure at 43 ½. Everyone has been through difficult things in their lives and everyone has a struggle that they have either overcome or are battling out in the present. I hear people put their struggles on display like badges of honor all the time. They grew up in crazy, dysfunctional homes with addicted parents and were children of divorce. They have struggled with addiction themselves. They have struggled with depression. They have issues surrounding trusting others. They have significant mental health history in their families. They have lost loved ones to illness and tragedy. And in every setting, in every context, these folks have to roll all that out before they make their point. This is all kinds of tiresome to me. I actually fit every single one of those scenarios I have mentioned above, and yet I don’t want anyone to make me a t-shirt listing all of them so that people can see them and "feel for me" and form an opinion of me before I open my mouth. Then there is the truly bizarre phenomenon of people trying to out-struggle one another. "Yeah, that's terrible, but listen to this! You think that's bad??" That experience is particularly putrid and wrong, and I usually take my leave at this point if it's possible for me to do so.Tough things in the past don’t make you relevant, folks. It’s what you do now that does, and if you have to preface everything with your past struggles, I think it makes you look insecure, not strong. There. Yes, I said that.
This tendency to spew one’s own virtues certainly applies to faith as well. This applies to any faith, but since MY faith is Christian, I will refer to that. I am not putting this faith above others, or saying it’s better than anyone else’s, so let’s get that out of the way now. That argument is both tired and unnecessary, and I'm just speaking from my specific perspective. I know a lot of amazing people that do incredible things in the name of faith, and they do it quietly. People like this have my absolute respect, and I believe that this type of love in action is what Jesus intended. Then there are the loud, showy Christians, and they make me tired. They may be doing amazing things as well, or they may be misguided in their direction, but the one thing they all do is to make sure everyone knows they’re doing it. This begs the question…are you truly doing it for its own sake, as we are called to do? Or are you doing it so you’ll feel good and everyone will think you’re wonderful? If it’s the latter, you may want to check yourself.
If you feel a call or a tug to do good and make a difference, that’s wonderful. Do it. Then shut up about it. If you receive unsolicited praise, accept and enjoy it.
I am being very judgmental and I am keenly aware of it. That's not good, I'm not supposed to do that. Oh well, I never claimed to be perfect. Honest? Always.
I’m so happy for you! Really. No, I am!
I think I’m pretty good at owning the fact that I’m selfish. When lovely things befall people I love and respect, I am happy for them. I’m also sad and sullen over the fact that the lovely things may result in the people going away from me. I get very comfortable in the company of amazing people and I like things to stay as they are, I’ve never been that great at change.
One of my dearest, most important friends just landed an acting role in a series (yay!!) that will require him to move from LA to New York for 6 months (boo!). Acting is his passion, and I’m very proud and happy for him. I actually only get to see him once or twice a year anyhow, but somehow knowing the option to see him will be lot harder and more expensive makes me sad. There aren’t a ton of people in my really close circle, ones who I trust to the moon and back, but he’s one. He has to go for it and do what’s best for him but he’ll be in another time zone now! Waaaaaahhhhh! (But I am thrilled for him...and I love him to pieces!)
My best friend on earth has been living in Newfoundland with her fiancé for about a year now. Prior to that, she lived in NYC for 8 years, and for reasons that baffle me now, I never got out there to see her. We are in daily contact, but we rarely get to see each other. The last two times we've seen each other have been at funerals, and that clearly needs to stop. She’s my touchstone and she knows me better than just about anyone. But Newfoundland is so farrrrrrrr! It looks insanely beautiful, I know I would love a visit there (probably in spring, I’m not crazy), but it’s not that easy to get to and it’s pricey. They’re hoping to migrate to the west coast sooner or later, but I am selfish and want to see them NOW. Now now now.
One of the most skilled people I have ever had the pleasure of working with is leaving the district and moving on to bigger and better things. He is a brilliant, effective, fabulous leader. He is an altogether lovely human being and universally loved. If it were as simple as him just moving on, I think I honestly could just be happy, but due to politics and other crap, I’m mostly mad. I'm one of probably a couple hundred people who are upset over this. If people were ultimately treated well and decisions were made based on merit and not all this other garbage, we would still have a load of good people working for us. I often envy those who are blissfully unaware of what's really going on. He is a GEM and will be sorely missed. I actually feel badly for the person they find to replace him, because no. Not so sure those shoes can be adequately filled.
Finally, my dad. The last 4 years of his life were hell and he’s almost been gone 4 years now. I know for sure that he is much happier where he is now, but there are days it still doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t actually pick up the phone to call him, I’m past that stage. However, I still find myself wanting to just talk to him and fill him in on everything that is going on. I want him to see and know my children well, since they have almost no memory of him before he was seriously sick and bedridden. I want advice. I want to laugh with him and yell with him and watch musicals with him and I want to be able to go back and spend more time with him than I did. I guess that’s the wish of anyone who has lost someone. So would I actually want him to still be here, as sick as he was? Of course not. I just wish there were a few little allowances to make contact after the fact. Like allotted minutes on a cell phone plan. He does drop by in dreams occasionally, but he rarely does when I want him too. His social life has got to be off the charts with all his brothers with him now. I miss him.
And so it goes...sigh.