I have a friend who was just recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's, just like what I had. We were talking and she was venting as I was reminiscing and we ended up talking about our friends and how they reacted to our illness.
Both myself and my friend are into chessed and we totally appreciate those people who want to be there for others and do all they can to help out. The problem is that most people don't know how to help out.
The desire is there, but the methods are completely wrong.
To go into what people would need to do to shape up is pretty much a repeat of what I've been posting my entire blog-
-Don't pretend you're best friends with the person if you didn't know her name before last week
-Don't come over uninvited or push offers on the people you never had anything to do with before
-Don't call and leave a zillion messages for the choleh- chances are she heard the first one and will either call you back when she feels like it or never...
-Don't become best friends with their sisters just to say that you have a CLOSE relationship to the family...
There are so many Don'ts running through my head right now but the more I write the more ridiculous they all sound. But the problem is that these Don'ts happen all the time.
Why is it that my friend is so glad that her friends are all married and live in Lakewood or Israel or really far away, and that they can't come over and bug her even if they wanted to?
My friend knows that these girls who call 100 times a night only want to do chessed, but yet, the way they go about it is enough to make her glad that some of them are an ocean away.
We both feel that it's so sad.
There are people out there who really do want to do good- they just don't know how.
My friend was saying that she would love to tell them how, but some people just don't want to listen. I think that's worse than anything.
Being mevaker choleh is to do what's good for the patient. If she's trying to tell you what's good for her, but you decide you know better, what good is that?
I hated to tell her that she'd probably come out of this illness thinking very differently about some people she'd never had an opinion about before. Instead of leaving well enough alone, I find that some people insist on putting themselves out there and making things so annoying and bothersome for the patient.
A simple card would say so much without all the bother.
I'm not trying to be negative. Not at all. I have friends and students who are always telling me that they want to volunteer for chessed programs and things, and I think that is so beautiful. I just wish more people would know what it's like from the other point of view, from the side receiving the chessed.
I have to commend the people I've met who really took the time to understand and listen to what the patent's needs really were, they were able to read between the lines and weren't the girls that my mother had to lie to and say that I was sleeping, or on the other line, or overnight in the hospital, or that I was in Florida for the month... in order for them to stop calling.
It's really hard for one to know the rules of the game and where to toe the line, but I think that with a little more sensitivity and a little less excitement to do what THEY feel is the RIGHT thing, we'd all be much better off.
And for the girl that I was supposed to "break up the night with" -This post is for you!