Archive for the ‘Caring’ Category

Service of the Simple Things Friends Do That Warm Your Heart

Thursday, March 14th, 2024

Cousin Deb Wright painted this Valentine card for me.

I was about to leave my apartment to face a daunting medical procedure when one of my dear friends texted, “Deep breaths.” I responded that my husband used to say that to me, and she replied that she knew, and that I’ve said it to her at times.

“Big deal,” you’re thinking.

It was big to me. I left home feeling supported and at the same time deeply touched.

Another instance involved the first text I received one morning this week. It was from a friend who had never known my husband. I met her after he’d died. She said she was thinking of me on the anniversary of his death. It blew me away. A longtime friend who did know him and who remembered such dates had died in December.

I’d written recently about two friends who’d recognized my husband’s February birthday with a mass card. Golly. Who does that?

There are simple ways you can comfort, strengthen and let a person know that you care without a lot of fanfare. I suspect friends do these things and forget about them–but I don’t. Such gestures are important, don’t you think?

One of several gifts my sister, Elizabeth, gave me for Valentine’s Day

Service of Hit and Run

Monday, August 11th, 2014

A good friend raised my goose bumps when she told me two men deep in conversation ran into her on Lexington Avenue near Grand Central Station three months ago, knocking her to the ground. They kept on walking, never looking back. Another man and a policeman helped her up and checked that she was alright. She is.

A few weeks ago, inside the station, a man slammed into me with such force that he threw me into the path of another man and I bumped into him. I apologized, he looked at me as though I had nerve and the first person, long gone, never said a word.

Another friend reached her upstate New York stop one Friday night on a commuter train with a dog that was so anxious to hit the grass she dragged her down the stairs so she fell. Did the passenger behind her stop to help her up? Nope. He hopped over her as though she was a puddle and dashed off to the parking lot.

Years ago I flew in the air and then to the ground on a subway platform as I walked from a local to an express train. The young man who crashed into me because he was running on the platform at top speed was mortified, apologetic, helped me up, and kept asking me if I was OK as I hobbled into the second subway.

So what’s going on today?

I’ve lived in this city most of my life. I had a kind of antenna that guided me through crowds, across busy streets and on swarming sidewalks with zero contact most of the time. Is the city more crowded now? Are there no more unwritten rules of navigation?  Wherever we live are we so deadened to what’s going on around us we can cause injury and not even realize it?

 

Service of Caring too Much

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Can a person care too much about the place they work?

Sue Shellenbarger attempted to answer the question in her Wall Street Journal article, “When it Comes to Work, Can You Care Too Much?

She divided employees into “organization lovers” and “free agents.”

Like any lover, the former can get hurt and become disillusioned. She describes the type in a sidebar as “caring, committed, attached and involved” as well as driven to contribute, to inspire others and play extremely well with team members. Simultaneously Shellenbarger’s summary also portrays them as potential malcontents, prone to get frustrated over things they can’t change and they react “emotionally to employer missteps.”

When BP blundered, wrote Shellenbarger, one of its employees, Christine Bader, quit. “‘The hurt ran much deeper when BP’s problems came to pass, because I was so in love with that company,’ says Ms. Bader, author of ‘The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist,’ a book about how people advocate inside companies for social and environmental causes. ‘My sense of identity was really shaken,’ says Ms. Bader.”

Shellenbarger continued: “Nearly 1 in 3 employees are strongly attached to their jobs and organizations, and their numbers are edging higher, based on a biannual Gallup survey that tracks attitudes common among organization-lovers. Some 30% of employees are ‘engaged,’ or involved, enthusiastic and committed to their jobs, up from 28% in 2010, the survey shows. Women have an edge, with 33% of them falling into this category, compared with 28% of men.”

Reading Shellenbarger’s description of free agents, I’m not so sure such passionate commitment is an edge. Free agents are, she writes, “detached, calm and self-directed. They leave problems at work, feel more in control and take missteps in stride.” She lists as “cons” that they also change jobs frequently and “can be seen as cynical.” Shellenbarger doesn’t share examples of such employees.

I know where I fit and in typical grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-street mode I wish I were more like the other. And you?

 

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