It is usually a simple moment or two like this one that gives me my writing topic of the day. Yesterday, before our dog conversation, I had been talking to a friend about the fact that it is always surprising who shows up when you need them. She too has a long standing medical problem and has been pleasantly surprised by the support of some and deeply hurt by the loss of others.
It is a common occurrence I'm afraid. I've seen it many times through the years. Those who you would expect to be the first to arrive at a time of crisis or need, never show up. In her case she had been there several times for the person in question so it made it even more hurtful that she hadn't offered support. As she was speaking it made me think of my own situation and I could relate very easily to what she was saying.
It's an interesting phenomenon...how and why does this happen? When I was first diagnosed with needing reconstructive surgery, I went to a well known site for that condition to ask some detailed questions. I'm was floored to see that what most people were talking about wasn't the actual surgery and the recovery, but the difficulty they were having dealing with relationships. I read a little further and saw the very thing we are talking about here is one of the main concerns. When family and friends do don't support, and how much pain that can cause.
I wasn't expecting this at all, yet I shouldn't have been so surprised. At a time of crisis or need those who show up make all the difference in a person's well being. Those who don't, stand out for not being there.
In my case I have what I need and I'm happy. There are cases where people don't have their needs. In those cases, the emotional pain caused by the absence of someone you thought would be supportive creates havoc. I had to stop reading on that site, it made me sad to think about it.
Do getting back to the title, fair weather friends, there is such a thing. We all have them. They are around when times are good, they are always at a party, boating, campfires but not often around for the hard stuff of life. I always found that hard to understand because I'm not that kind of person. In the words of Billy Joel.....I took the good times, I'll take the bad times....
There are many reasons why people don't show up; we can spend a lot of time discussing and dissecting that, but the bottom line is, if they don't want to be there, you don't want them there.
The best description I have for this situation came from hearing Bishop Jakes speak at an Oprah event in Toronto. He said "you can't expect a gallon from a pint person." He went on to explain that some people just don't have the capacity to give, or to give at that time, or to give to you. Hurtful - yes, but there isn't much any of us can do about it. For whatever reason that stuck with me that day. Now in a situation where I would have been deeply disappointed, I see the person as a pint and move on.
Does that mean we literally move on? That's a good question. There are times I have and times I have not. Look for the value in that relationship and see if it is something you still want even though it is not what you need. What value does this person bring to your life? What do you offer theirs? Only you can make that decision. It is however difficult to move on with those people when you have had a major event in your life that they have not been a part of - by choice.
To leave you with my Newfie take on Bishop Jakes saying, we say, "you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip!"
Finally, remember those who are in your corner; those who show up, care and go out of their way. Focus on those people and be ever grateful they are in your lives.
Now I have to go outside and sit on the back step and throw the ball to Whinnie. I can't let Barry have all the fun!