Please don’t apologize

Recently a very close friend called me after several months of very, very little contact. Even though I keep this blog pretty anonymous, I’m still not going to go into the details of why my friend sort of disappeared for a while. The thing is, when she did call me and explain everything that had been happening — and let me be clear, she was and is going through some very serious grief and hardship — she apologized for being out of touch. You’re apologizing to me for not making sure I know every little detail of your life? I’m not entitled to that. You’re entitled to your privacy. You deserve to have some time to deal with things on your own. How can you apologize to anybody when you’re the one who should be receiving apologies?

Then the other day I got a call from the St. Joseph the Worker group at my church. I signed up with them a few weeks ago. The mission is to pretty much be there to provide help when it’s needed. If someone needs a ride to the doctor, or maybe an elderly person really needs some strong young people to move something heavy for them, etc., they can call SJW, and the group calls someone who’s already registered to help with “odd jobs.” When you sign up, you tell them what you can do, and what days you’re usually available. If you’re not available when they call, it’s okay, and they just go to the next person on the list. It’s really awesome in my opinion.

So anyway, I got a call from SJW asking me if I could drive a lady downtown for a medical procedure next Friday. I was happy to say yes because… honestly, I need to be needed. I’m a Christian. It’s my job to fulfill needs. The hardest part is figuring out who needs me to do what. I love it when I’m asked to do something specific, and when I know I’ll actually be helping someone. So I got in touch with the lady, but she said she might not need me, but then again she might, so she’s wondering if I could keep Friday morning open. Basically she’s having some pain that she’ll receive treatment for on Monday, but she’s not sure if the treatment will be effective. So I’m thinking, “I’ll just drive you either way.” I don’t know… The SJW people told me that this woman has been helping other people for years. Now she seems shy about receiving help unless she really, really needs it.

There’s plenty of talk about how people are very self-entitled nowadays. There are plenty of stories about people who just take and take and take, and can hardly be bothered to say, “Thanks.” But there are still some amazing people out there who even when they are suffering, think about others. Even when they’re in need, they don’t want to inconvenience someone else. Even when they took only what they needed (in my friend’s case, time), they feel like they took more than they should have. What if we were all like that? It’s very humbling.

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