Let Me Know . . .

LA MESA -- You know how, when someone we know is facing a hard time,  we frequently say something like, "I'm so sorry to hear this.  I/we are always here for  you.  Let me know if you need anything."  Some people even add, "And I mean that.  ANYTHING."  And then we walk away and hope they will ask us to do something,  because helping others is just something we humans have a built-in need to do.

But if that someone in need is anything like me, or like most of us,  they will never ask for anything.  Oh they might be in need of something,  but the likelihood of that friend picking up the phone and saying,  "I'm sorry to bother you, but ..."  is fairly remote.

So the other day I had a thought.  What if I just tried to be better at intuiting what my friends facing challenges  might need or want?  Maybe I could just gather some thoughtfully selected items, put them in a nice bag and leave them on the door step?   Maybe even do it when no one but me would know who the things are from.

Of course we know what happens next.  We start second guessing ourselves about the thing we're about to do... What if I bring the wrong things?  What if the snacks I bring are not appetizing right now?   What if the flowers just feel like something that have to be fussed with?   What if my friend isn't in the mood for sea salt brownies and fresh berries and cheese all tucked into a new Trader Joe's cloth bag?  What if she feels obligated to ask me to come in and visit and won't want to answer the door.  And on and on come the reasons that maybe this isn't such a good idea.

 But I decided to go with the bold heart's desire to get a few things, leave them on the door step, ring the door bell and then head home.   A mystery gift of love!  Maybe not exactly the right assortment, but I'm thinking SOMEthing--even done a bit awkwardly-- is better than NOthing done perfectly, and love unexpressed just leaves the heart aching and wishing it had done something.  Anything. 

That's my thought for an August day under cloudy skies in La Mesa, California.

Chris Shea is the proprietor of Lifesighs, a creative card shop on La Mesa Boulevard in the Village.

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Comment by Frank Robert Dittmer on August 23, 2014 at 4:20pm

I love this, Chris!  I need to do more at times, but i second guess myself too wondering if it will be taken the wrong way of if the recipient just wants to be left alone.  i know with what i have been going through the last year with family health issues and the helplessness I sometimes feel, it is nice for people to stop by the shop and listen.  Sometimes an ear is the best gift.  How Van Gogh.   

Comment by David Stanley on August 21, 2014 at 7:17am

Something, anything, is better than nothing. Many years ago a close friend of mine was shot to death whilst on duty. A few days after the funeral my wife and I paid a short visit to the new widow. On entering no one said anything. It was just being there for her. We sat and I held her hands and we all cried. Yeah, yeah. I know. Cops and cowboys never cry. We cried and I held her hands and left after a few minutes together. It was enough. Later she thanked me for our tears saying they had really helped.

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