Monday, July 21, 2014

Tammy

I just can't be consistent. I think I last wrote in April....
(I wrote this Friday, July 18, 2014, and I forgot to hit publish.)


This week and last week have been two absolutely crummy weeks for me. I woke up on Wednesday mad at the world for no apparent reason. It's been one week and two days, and my desire to set the world on fire has diminished very little. On top of having to deal with this inexplicable anger, I've been helping a friend cope with some news they recently received. Since I feel that what they are going through is far more significant, I've placed my mysterious issue on pause for the most part...or at least while I'm talking to them. This week has been better, but I really hate feeling this way. The sun and the little birds outside my window normally give me life in the mornings, and now I just want to close my blinds and turn those birdies into target practice. This too shall pass.

Anywho, this really is about an encounter that I had with a woman named Tammy. Yesterday, I had plans to go out to dinner and attend a concert. While we were at dinner, I thought to check my phone because I wasn't sure if a friend of mine was going to need me later that day. I informed them of my plans, but said I would scrap them if they needed me. They did. After returning the call, I went back into the restaurant, asked for my check, and packed up my meal. I excused myself, and apologized for my abrupt departure. I walked over to the venue and asked them if they could gift my ticket to someone. They told me they would, and I headed towards my car. I was feeling good that I was able to not let that ticket go to waste, but I had no idea what the Lord really had in store for me. A lady stopped me. She told me that she didn't want any money, but she was hungry. I told her I had barely touched my meal, and she was more than welcome to it if she wanted it. She looked like she was going to cry, and she asked me for a hug. I complied. Then she told me she was dying from AIDS. I was surprise that I didn't respond in an overly empathetic way as I and most people are accustomed to doing, but instead my mind went directly into "now what?" mode for her.  I asked her when was she going back to the clinic. She told me that she has appointment on Friday, but she was scared. I assured her that as long as she went back to that appointment and do what they tell her to do, she could live a long life with this disease. "You really think so?" Yes, I replied. She told me that her viral load was high and her t-cell count was low and through it all she was able to give me the biggest toothless smile. She asked me to pray for her, and I told her I would. However, I stressed the importance of her going to her appointment. God and medicine are not exclusive of each other. She said that she would. We hugged again, and she gave me her phone number. I setup a reminder to check on her on Friday. Tammy came back to my window to let me know that the food was good. I'm glad she liked it.

I fought with myself if I should post a shortened version of this on FB. I didn't want to come off as someone who was seeking attention for her kind act. Instead, I want to spread the message of empathy. I want people to learn that vulnerability is okay. Tammy was vulnerable with me, and my empathy led me to be of assistance to her. In truth, Tammy was more of a blessing to me than I was to her. I don't think that I'm a nice person. It is not natural to me. I've learned to be this nice. I accepted the golden rule mentality back when monsters were threatening me from under my bed. The golden rule as an adult changes as our personalities have developed more and more time and energy is required of us. It's easy to be selfish when you don't have that much time for yourself. I struggle with trying to be positive and nice. I am quick to anger, judgment, and sometimes violence. The violence is always in my head. I have a future to protect, so I don't dare act on that. I just don't like that I think in those terms. Nonetheless, I'm happy that I was able to be a blessing for Tammy. I'm happy she was able to be a blessing to me.

Be kind to the people you meet for you do not know what battles they are fighting. It's a struggle to always keep this in mind, but it gets easier with practice.