When they need you, they will find you. They will text you, email you, or call you.
Turns out they hadn’t not known how to be in touch. Their computer hadn’t crashed. They hadn’t lost your number or email address. They weren’t lying in a coma or suffering from amnesia. They just didn’t feel a need to be in touch until now.
They hadn’t felt it necessary to occasionally acknowledge or even answer your emails, texts, or phone calls. But, now, they’ve gotten in touch because they need something from you. You oblige, not necessarily happily, because that’s who you are. You are delighted in a few cases to hear from the person, after so very long, and catch up. You try not to be resentful but so many requests have come in, in the last week that you feel that you are drowning.
Can you write me a recommendation? (Due in four days.)
Did you see my email requesting a recommendation? (Sent by text.)
Remember that name you gave me about that apartment? (Wasn’t this two or so years ago?) I’m checking in now…and oh, by the way, I do appreciate all of the info and resources you’ve sent.
A text comes in and says, “Call me as soon as you can to talk about” something very important to me that I want your help with even though I don’t know you other than that one conversation we had months ago about an untenable situation.
I’ve updated my website…I need help with my newsletter…oh, yeah, and how are you?
Can you get me discount tickets for…(2 requests in 3 days. Uh, I haven’t worked with the Community Membership Initiative in two years. They must have missed that memo.)
Would you talk to my son, my niece, my friend about this and that? Would you help with this, advise about that?
Tell me about how you got your books published. Help me do it (even though half the time, they don’t want to do the steps I did.)
I’m being cranky, I know. I’ll get through this rush of requests in this busiest of seasons. Maybe I need let all calls just go to VM, then listen to them in the stillness to see if I can say yes or need to say no. Maybe I need to curtail the bounty of information I share. I know I have to manage the expectations of others and my feeling obligated to help. I like to be helpful but I’m feeling smothered by so many requests from so many different people.
Tighten up, Candelaria. Tighten up.
What an incredibly perfect description of a residual cost of being a giver in the midst of the majority of takers in this world. And the hope is that one or two or three of them will eventually see the model you’ve presented and they in turn aspire to begin to “give” forward too within the sphere of takers.
Of course you are too good and much too nice to ever not answer or reach out and offer to help. Sure it would not be easy to say “Sorry, i just can’t right now? But might be ok every once in awhile
Thank you for taking time to read and comment. I actually told someone this recently. It felt liberating because I knew that the request and the person it came from would take me down a deep hole.
I get it. I used to raise money for nonprofits and it’s amazing how many people call me looking for money. Meanwhile, I’ve had a rough time with COVID the past couple of years and enduring symptoms and it would just be great to have them call just to check in.
Thank you for taking time to read and comment. I am sorry that you’re having a rough time with Covid and will add you to my prayer list.
OMG OMG for years I thought I was the only one….how hypocritical of me!
Because of my experience in the realms of those who say “NO” or causing even lower self esteem yet “Ignoring My Calls” is one of the reasons why I appear to go over board with delightful gratitude and thanks giving when someone says “YES” and assists me with a smile.
It seems as though it never stops …. the asking that is!
Especially with those that finally call back when they want something acting like they don’t remember my reaching out.
What hurts me the most is when I reach out to those I’ve assisted, usually with stuff that takes days of effort to complete, but when I’m the one asking my calls and/or texts go unnoticed.
In fact, I’m working on a project right now when some of my outreach calls to those I’ve assisted several times appear to be ignored.
I cried yesterday when this occurred only because it was with folks that I went to the mat for.
Then I stood up … took a deep breath … hugged myself and started feeling “big time” thankful for all the folks that have said “YES”
Then I went back to my practice of Helen “DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY” … nothing others do is because of you.
What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. I know that when I become immune to the opinions and actions of others I won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
I think folks who do the work in adding value to community service are very special people.
I learned about service as a little girl watching and listening to the women in my life who never forgot to tell me “Helen Credle I love you” …. now I’d like for you to do this, that or the other. It was always requests that added valuable growth to our neighborhood in particular and our community at large.
My Mom who all called Brownie because of her gorgeous brown skin was top of the list … “Bootsie I need you to ….”
My grandmothers, Nanny Davis and Granma Credle who was the “Master Chef” for years at Charles Street AME Church. Mrs. Melnea Cass, Miss Elma Lewis and one of my all time favorites Mrs. Ruth Batson.
I was blessed to be in the presence of these magnificent women daily.
I saw them…I heard them. Take request upon request from this one or that one who was in need serving with class and dignity their needs, often times with miraculous outcomes.
Now let me bring my message home where my heart is and that’s with you Candelaria!
You’re a dream walking. A spirit that offers gravitation from multitudes just because of your precious spirit.
Don’t be weary my love when some are unable to reciprocate … it’s because they truly are “UNABLE.”
We, women of community service, are ordained from a higher place to serve.
Let’s stand tall in the march with our Corps of Community by wrapping ourselves in the mantle of “ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST” … your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when we’re healthy opposed to sick. Under any circumstances let’s just simply do our best so we can avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
Loving you my dear sista is the breath that keeps on giving.
Thank you for reading and leaving such a thoughtful response. You are an inspiration. I think you should write a book about the women and men who inspired and lifted you.