My Friend Janet
Be ever ready to help others right to the very limit of your strength. You remember with what love I gave myself. In My public life, in the midst of so many people all crowding around through self-interest. Seldom did I meet with love. They came to Me through selfishness, yet My tenderness reached out to each one of them. Imitate Me. Don’t bargain with Me.
Bossis, Gabrielle. He and I (Kindle Locations 1822-1824). Pauline Books and Media. Kindle Edition.
I do believe that there are people who come into our lives that we are actually supposed to take care of. Then there are those who pass through, and perhaps, are helped a few times. Janet (not her real name), I believe is someone I am supposed to help, and because of that, she helps me as well.
She has some emotional issues and has medicine to help with that. She is a deeply anxious person, and because she lives on the edge, on disability, she often worries about rent, food, and who is going to help her when she gets ill. Even when these needs are taken care of, and she does have people to help her, she still worries excessively. However, she also has an inner strength that I admire very much. She enjoys what she has, and I am glad that I am one person who can make some sort of difference in her life. She is a grace for me.
She can drive me a little crazy at times, but she does not process the way I do, and I have come to appreciate that, and let her do what she needs to do to work out her problems.
I have to laugh about how many messages she will leave me on my phone. Because she has reversed her days and nights, she tends to call at 1 AM or so. On my phone, I have set her calls on silent. When she does call, she will leave up to 8 messages, each pretty much a repeat….don't forget she is a very anxious individual. As I age and have come to see how anxiety affects me, so I have some understanding of what compels her to repeat herself, because she does have a serious anxiety disorder. So one evening, as we were talking on the phone, I asked her to please let me know if she needs anything in her first three messages because I could not promise her that I would listen to all eight or more voicemails. I usually do listen, however. Being an intelligent woman, she also has a sense of humor, and she laughed and said she would. I don’t do that much for her, but once a month I pick up some items from the pharmacy, like facial tissues, paper towels, and some over the counter medication. Oh, yes, she loves chicken, so I will get her some fried chicken. I do not do her shopping for food etc. Another friend of Alice arranged for a C N A to come in twice a week to help her out with her needs.
She stays in a small motel room. She has been at this motel for around 12 years, and that small room is now her home, and she would not want to be anywhere else. Though I do know she is lonely and she can’t get out to eat or get her hair done unless someone drives her. I try to take her out to eat a couple of times a year, and she always enjoys that. She does get out a few times a month because she has some good friends who help to take care of her needs.
I do worry about her, she is almost 80 and has some health problems that are developing. She is terrified about being ‘placed’ in some nursing home, but I fear one day she will have an emergency, and will not be able to return to her motel room. Hopefully, if that happens, it may be a good thing, since the nursing home staff will be able to get her back on a normal schedule. Then she may find that she will receive lots of visitors, for she is well liked. You would not meet a more open, talkative, loving person, than Janet.
I remember about 10 years ago I drove her to Walmart. Now from my past experiences, I know that when she shops, she also talks to everyone she meets in the shopping aisles, and will ask them their opinion on what she should buy, even though she knows exactly what she wants. I have also noticed that people warm up to her, actually loving her attention. So she could take a very long time doing shopping. That day I only had a few hours so I told her, in a very stern voice (though I was kind of laughing inside), that if she was not outside waiting for me in two hours, she would have to get a cab back to her motel. So I drove off, did what I had to do for the community, and came back. She was there! She later told a friend of mine that she was terrified that I would actually leave her there stranded if she was not finished. I laughed, but told Janet later, that whenever I drop her off, she really needs to understand that my time is limited, but I would never abandon her. Now, I have just one trip to make, a quick one, and she has others to help her with her shopping. Her C N A does most of it for her. She can’t walk very well, she has some hip problems. It did take a while to get our boundaries straightened out…..it is always a learning process.
I have come to love Janet, even though on some level, I am only as good as my last favor to her. That is ok, her heart is good, and she is just in survival mode, so I understand that. Luckily over the last couple of years, her support system is much better than it was in the past. God is good, and she gets what she needs, and those who help her get to see her humor, love of life, and her desire to stay as independent as she can.
I am not sure which one of us will go first. If she does, I will miss her I know that. I am also grateful that I can do my little bit to help her….even if from time to time she does drive me crazy…..one day she left me 12 messages.
Lord, you show yourself in hidden ways,
each of us is your presence in the world,
so give me a heart to see your face,
in those you send to me to journey with,
(knowing that I as well need those to journey with me),
for you heal through our hands,
and love with our hearts.—Br.MD