My desperate quest to be useful ...
Something quite extraordinary happened this weekend. Someone needed me. This was what I needed. I heard from my friend Andy that my old IP director, Ed, was stranded. I knew that Tom had other plans that I couldn't be around for, so I leapt at the chance to spend time with a friend, and if I could help him, that would be even better.
I called Ed up and asked what was going on. Ed was half asleep as he was talking to me, but he said that his car had broken down and he had left his cell phone in Tampa. Unfortunately, his towing service was directly through his cell phone, so he needed it in order to get his car towed. I told him I'd be there in about 30 minutes to pick him up. I stopped off for gas, headed over and knocked on the door.
Ed answered and asked what I was doing in his part of the neighborhood. He had no recollection of talking to me earlier. I told him I was there to take him to get his cell phone so he could get his car fixed. Being that I have only just recently joined the realm of car owners again, I know what it's like to be stranded with no transportation. He then told me that he had called everyone he knew asking for help and I was the only one who had responded. That made me feel bad ... considering that he had told Andy of his problem over 90 minutes ago, I had thought that he would have already found a ride and been well on his way to getting his car fixed. However, forgetting that I was on my way, he had resigned to taking a nap and having faith that when he woke up, he could put eveything back into perspective and find a solution. I can't tell you how many times he thanked me and told me how he appreciated my help ... I told him that it was no problem, and it really wasn't. I drove him to Tampa, back to Largo, waited with him til the tow truck arrived, then hung out with him for a bit at his house.
I can't begin to explain how I felt. I felt useful again, if only for a short time. I felt needed, which is something I very rarely feel. And even though I am very rarely able to do much for anyone, when I am actually useful and able to help a friend it makes it that much better for me. I am the type of person who will go out in the middle of the night with an expired tag, buy chicken soup and crackers, and take care of my most prominent rival of the moment ... it is just the way I am. I have desperate need to be needed, to take care of people, to know that I have made a difference.
The worst thing that I have ever heard was when I was told, "I don't need you anymore." It hurt more than childhood insults, more than being told that I am fat and unattractive, more than being lied to about affections ... it broke my spirit. I felt useless, that I had no worth. It is something that even months later, it still hurts ... I can still hear exactly how it was said, I can tell you where I was standing. It was one of those moments that I will never forget.