First I was confused. Later I silently disagreed. Then I started to question.
“You support a lot of people,” my friend said. The conversation moved quickly past my subtle bristle, but my recurring trait of wanting to be right itched like a prickly tag inside a sweater.
My children are grown. My parents are dead. I am not a caretaker for anyone. My love Kevin is as much a support to me as I am to him. My mild annoyance and urge to argue lingered.
Margo visits our terminally ill friend Joyce week after week. Mary Helen has fed the homeless every Tuesday for years. Michaela and her wife care for their very special daughter with long list of extra special needs each and every day.
I wasn’t like them. What I do is small. Occasional. Chosen. And mostly easy.
Check on Mary’s cat litter order and find her divorce decree
Review documents for Sam’s condo sale and visit him in memory care
Talk with Brian about chemo ending and give Grace asked for advice
My calls from my blind sister last about 5 minutes. Brian and I FaceTime every three weeks and I never have to leave home. Sam is 83 and it’s been rare he’s needed my help. Taking a plate of blueberry pancakes to my neighbor hardly fits my belief about being a helper.
I wasn’t like Margo or Mary Helen or Michaela. I wasn’t humble. If I admitted I supported a lot of people, my achiever ego had to admit the choice that my countless undone, unfinished, and unstarted projects would wait another day.
I confused what I do (small and paltry in comparison) with who I think I am (someone who should be doing big things). I forgot that who you are “being” matters more than what you are “doing.” Whether I am doing big or small or only now and then, I don’t need to deny being supportive or loving.
I love the people I help. I love a lot of people. I vow to keep loving and not argue about it.
Do you ever diminish who you are by comparing yourself to others?
Does your ego ever hide what’s most important to you?
Has a small kind act ever made a big difference to you?