I have a conundrum as to who to help. Here is my predicament: Almost every year, for many years, I, along with some of my fellow former teammates, volunteer to help my old college coach run a very large tournament for the college that is usually understaffed. I had committed to doing this a month ago, as I usually do, and the event is this coming Saturday. Then I found out a very close friend of mine was admitted into the hospital with very serious issues last week. She and her family had recently relocated and sold their house, which is supposed to be closed on next week. They had planned to pack this coming Saturday but, with the situation that has arisen, aren’t able to do so. One of their siblings is going to help do the packing, along with some other family members. I want to extend my help to them but am not sure that I should break my commitment to my coach who needs me. This is a one time, special circumstance situation. Do you think I should do it?
Torn in two
Dear Torn in two,
Thank goodness for you! You—a good friend and a devoted member of a team—are out there in the world right now, giving your time to others and lending your strength where it is needed. You care about the people in your life and show up to be there when they need you. Your selflessness is laudable, though it’s clear it can cause an imbalance when you feel stretched beyond your limits. Well, guess what, my dear? We human beings toddle about in a world of limits. It’s built into our DNA. We get a limited number of heartbeats in this life, and our wants outweigh our abilities a good deal of the time. Dealing with that imbalance each time it arises determines how we’ll handle it the next time we step up to the grand scale that only we can calibrate. So, first: smooth your brow. Your worry is understandable, and lovely, but it will only serve to weigh you down and make it harder to do what you need and want to do. Next: help your friend. Your elbow grease during packing will not only give her your love and support, but it will offer an unexpected kindness to her family during a difficult time, a gift of true friendship that makes all the difference during life’s most challenging times. Finally, tell your coach and former teammates what prevents your participation in the tournament this time around. I guarantee they will not only understand but also be revitalized by your alternate plans. Imagine what you would feel if you were standing in their shoes. To know that your friend is doing something for someone in need, that your friend’s heart is beating in concert with a symphony of others. Witnessing that kind of strength in others makes us stronger so that the next time we toddle out of balance we can right ourselves without too much trouble.
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