Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I am a good friend to have.  It has taken more years than I care to admit to, but I've finally learned how to be a pretty good friend.  However, in order for me to be a friend, you need to be right in front of me.  This is becoming more and more apparent to me. The problem that I seem to have is with the follow-through.  I think I've mentioned a few million times that I work with Liver Transplant Families.  They need friends and they need people to become their friend instantly.  We don't have a lot of time to hash out all of the details of our lives to each other to see if we'd get along, we just love them as they come into our group.  So far it's worked out real well the past 7 years.  


Boy that's tough for me.  If someone doesn't call me asking for help or to do something, I just won't call.  If someone emails and asks a question, it seems to take me  F O R E V E R to write them back.  When someone is living right here in the area, we don't send cards when someone isn't feeling well (our group is made up entirely of sick people or people recovering from surgery) but those that live far away, I feel like I should write them a note every so often.  Send an email.  Maybe even make a phone call.  

I don't.

I think I got a butt-dial from someone today out in California.  They didn't leave a message and didn't call back, so I'm assuming that it was a mistake.  However, it made me happy that I was still in their phone!  Then I started thinking about the last time I spoke with them.  It occurred to me that the last three times I've called these folks it's been to tell them that someone had passed away.  I don't want to be the person no one wants to hear from because all I've got is sad news. 

I need to work on that.

One of the members of our group got a liver transplant last week.   I haven't been up to see them.  Someone else is having cancer treatments in another state but they've heard hardly a word from me.  If these folks were right in front of me or came to one of our meetings or social events, I would smoother them with love, listen all night long to what's going on or go out of my way to get them something that need.  Once that visual connection is gone it's like Out of Sight, Out of Mind.  

My heart is so big and I care for these folks so much and yet I seem to fail when they might need me most.  One of the main reasons I started asking people (pestering relentlessly is more like it) to move to Jacksonville after their transplant is so the new folks will have dozens of people with big hearts who can fill in the gaps and who have qualities and personalities that appeal to our patients and friends.  I know a few folks who have moved here that are so good with follow-through that it boggles my mind how they do it.  Hmmm, I wonder if they could teach a class?

The quote in the picture above is what started me on this subject.  It struck a nerve.  A good nerve, but also showed a weakness in me.  Thank you to whomever posted that quote.    

Have a great day!


Keetha Broyles said...

I LOVE the quote!

Ann in the UP said...

Well, here's the deal. Not everybody has to be good at everything. You are an ace at one the spot caring. You don't have to be everywhere, being everything to everybody.

Don't beat yourself up. You do what you're good at wonderfully well!

Hugs, Annie

Lisa said...

Well, Annie said very well what I was thinking. But I wanted to add, that I am right there with you. You are not the only one that this happens to.

I hate the phone. Can't stand talking on it. So I don't call. If it wasn't for emails, I'd never talk to my BFF. But she knows this about me, and accepts it and still loves me.

I think that you might find, despite the lack of daily or weekly or any set interval of contact, that if your connection to those people is strong, you will not lose their friendship. Surely as adults we can all recognize that life happens, and we are pulled in so many directions. That silence does not equate an end of friendship or caring.

But, I am pretty sure I know you well enough to know you will stew on this and take action to fix it in a small, steady way. So why not start out with a simple group email to them all, sending your love, sharing this post and hoping they are well. Then set a reminder on your phone to send individual ones every once in awhile. It might seem forced, but to them, it will seem random and mean a lot that you care.

Martha Sundquist said...

I agree with the above, but also think that your personality is suited to deep connection almost instantly and perhaps those connections don't need to be nurtured all the time. Perhaps you life calling is to be the bad weather friend. You are there when needed...when the fair weather friends drift away. A good thought would be find a job that fits that.