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|Posted on July 22, 2017 at 10:05 PM|
This is a really tough lesson and it’s one that I’m having to learn right now in a very big way. I don’t like it - it sucks, to be honest - but it happened for a reason and that’s what lessons are all about.
A couple weeks ago, I was approached to help a child battling cancer. Most people don’t know this about me, but I used to work with two foundations who granted wishes and helped kids with cancer or life-threatening diseases. This has always been one of my passions and although I am no longer with those organizations, I still try to do this on a personal level. This was my intention with the child that was brought to my attention.
After getting some information about the child and connecting with family members, there were two things that would have been really exciting and uplifting for her: knights and princesses, and Star Wars. This was a piece-of-cake!
Because I know people who have such varied interests, this really was easy to accommodate. So I began putting one group together for a visit. It was going to be great - we would spend some time with the child, do our best to be inspirational and supportive, bring gifts, whatever we could to inspire this kid to fight and beat the diagnosis, right?
We put together a plan and the people I invited to do this with me invited others to come along as well. Not many... just a few to help lend support and to really let this kid know that we cared. It was a great group and I knew everyone who was invited, so it was perfect. But there was one person added to the group - at the last minute, that I didn’t know. Someone who was supposed to be there to take a video and a few photos so that we could share it with the family. I thought it was a great idea, so I went with it.
We all load-up and make the 2+ hour drive to the hospital. We go in, do our thing, give the child about $200 in gifts (that I paid for) and did our best to be respectful and uplifting. We actually did a great job and the child seemed to be a bit overwhelmed (as it was a surprise), but extremely happy. Things between us and the child really did go well and the gifts appeared to be really appreciated. In all honesty... if we inspired the child and helped create amazing memories... our job was done.
But... there were some things that really didn’t appear to be right during the visit. We started off with the photographer meeting privately with the family, before I had a chance to go in and introduce myself as the person they had been communicating with. I let it slide. During the visit - everyone was introduced except for me. I let it slide. I noticed that this ‘photographer’ wasn’t even using her camera - but was taking photos with her phone. Still... I didn’t say anything. During the visit, the ‘photographer’ kept telling the mom that if she wanted to contact anyone - that they should get with her and that she would get them connected. That wasn’t right and it irritated me a bit, but I let it go. At the end of the visit, when everyone was leaving the room, I walked over to the mother and introduced myself to her and the child, then told them that I had more surprises coming for her in the coming weeks and would be back in touch.
By the time we got out of the parking lot and back on the highway to head home, the ‘photographer’ had already posted photos about the visit, taking credit for it all. She completely left me out of ALL the photos, and she didn’t credit anyone else for taking an entire day off of work to make this visit. It was all about her. I was livid. Since we had ridden in different vehicles, there was a heated discussion (by everyone) in the one that I was in and supposedly she was told to stop posting photos without permission. She didn’t and just kept right on posting photos about how she was a key part of this event.
We grabbed lunch and headed back to our meeting point, of which I still had another hour’s ride to get home. I didn’t look at FB any more, just checked my email, took care of the animals and went to bed exhausted. The next morning I sent a thank you note to the family, letting them know how much we appreciated the opportunity to meet and spend time with the child. Although the mom normally responded back to me pretty quickly every other time - this time there was no response. I checked the child’s FB page to see if something had happened, but the mom was corresponding with other people - including the ‘photographer’ - so it didn’t seem as though there was a medical emergency, thank God!
Later I sent a note to the child’s relative who had originally contacted me. Again... I normally received a response fairly quickly, but not this time. No response at all, in spite of the fact that I was trying to line-up the next round of visitors for her.
What can I take from this? Obviously, my involvement as the organizer of the visit was very quickly eliminated and something must have been said to the family. I’m not the type of person who tries to take credit for things like this. I give all credit to those who are helping with the visit, but I do like to follow-up with the family and stay in touch. And yes, being included in the group photo would have been nice - rather than intentionally cropping me out of the image. It would have been nice to be introduced to the family, just as everyone else in the group was - rather than standing next to the bed, but being eliminated from the entire conversation - while handing out gifts.
I’m not a front-line kind of person - but I don’t like being completely ignored and pushed aside while I’m standing right there in the middle of the room. To me, that’s wrong and disrespectful. Especially if I brought everyone together. I don’t need a chorus of Hallelujahs sung for me, but just a mention of my name would be really nice.
To be honest... this really hurt. I didn’t do it for the glory or the credit... but I hate having a perfect stranger come in and completely shut me out and destroy my communication with the family. Why? What did I do that was so wrong? I pulled people together to help encourage a child. I bought that child gifts. I didn’t even get a “go to hell” from the family or anyone else... although a simple ‘thank you’ would have been amazing.
I had been thinking about creating a small foundation to help facilitate visits like this and was contacting people that I knew would be a huge asset to making these visits amazing. But now... I’m wondering if I should even bother any more. Am I helping anyone or am I just setting myself up for more people to attack me?
Personally... I’m freaking tired of the attacks. I try to do things with a good and open heart. I never try to take credit for things - only giving credit and thanks to those who have helped me make it happen. It hurts. Yes... I’m really wounded over this one and it’s going to take a LONG time to understand why someone wanted to do this.
A lesson in detachment... you bet! But really... does anyone like being completely dismissed... then ostracized simply for going out of their way and doing something nice for another person? I don’t get it and maybe I never will.
Categories: Every Day Spirituality