short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Becoming Involved

Becoming involved with others' problems usually means sharing not only time but also knowledge (and sometimes tracking down information). Giving your knowledge is usually even more rewarding and far more valuable than giving your money. Money cannot buy the knowledge that comes from expertise and experience.

I very much enjoy sharing my knowledge. In many cases, I have been able to help parents struggling with their children's rights to an appropriate education or medical care, especially those who do not fit into norms. I am often able to help people find the right schools or doctors, understand their rights, and connect with local advisors who can help them.

Sometimes I can help parents from afar, as well as those who live near me. Some such parents have come from my home area and attended school with me as children. In other cases, I have been able to provide emotional support to those experiencing medical or educational difficulties. This seems to me to be simply a matter of normal friendship. However, perhaps not everyone knows that he or she has knowledge worth sharing.

At my last high school reunion, our class president hugged me and said, "You have helped people in this class, and as president, I want to thank you on behalf of the class."

Such formality from a classmate! Just seeing these friends after many years of absence (30, I have to admit) was warm fuzzy enough, as was knowing that perhaps I was, indeed, able to bring a ray of sunlight into a dark corner for a few folks.

Having someone thank me in that manner, however, brought to mind a bouquet of blessings worthy of being framed and hung forever on the wall of the heart. Am I ready to help even more folks as a result of his words? Of course! These are the kind of words that get people to do almost anything and to feel really, really good about it.

I have watched my children follow the same path. They have learned to become involved. My oldest daughter, Lizzie, knows much about brain functions, and I have sent colleagues and friends to her in search of more information about various brain anomalies in their relatives. Although she does not know these people, she takes the time to provide them with the information they might be able to get from other sources and sends them to reference materials that will help them. At Logan Airport in Boston, I recently met the president of a national organization with which I am associated, and he related to me how Lizzie had helped him with his brother's problems.

I have also expected staffs that have worked for me to become involved with their colleagues and help them with their needs. Not everyone will do it, but most will if an example is set.

Unfortunately, I have seen other staffs refuse to become involved for reasons of fear, embarrassment, or unease -- to their detriment. One of the former U. S. consuls general, whom I will call Pete (for obvious reasons I am reluctant to give his real name), developed a debilitating illness. Although his physical body was failing him, his mind was sharp and his accumulated knowledge worth listening to. However, it became increasingly difficult for me to convince my staff that the information that Pete shared warranted the discomfort of dealing with Pete's illness. So, I no longer asked Pete to come into my office. Instead, I began to spend an afternoon a week at Pete's house, collecting the information that was so essential to our program. Collecting information was not always easy; sometimes it meant waiting for medicine to kick in so that Pete could respond. Patience -- I learned that at Pete's house. When our project was completed, Pete mentioned to me how much it had meant to him to be able to continue to contribute via me to the diplomatic mission of his country. Pete had handwritten notes of thank you from national leaders, such as Ronald Reagan, on his wall, yet the small human touch that I had given him meant as much. Even though Pete's health terribly interfered, he did not let it stop him from being involved with life, with his country, and with his continuing work. When there was no longer any Pete, I felt that not only had the State Department had lost a treasure but also that I had lost a pleasure.

Becoming involved is the way in which we share the fragrances of our lives with those we care about. Interestingly, the more we become involved the more people we begin to care about, the more people who begin to care about us, and the more fragrant becomes the air around us.


Excerpted and adapted from a collection of vignettes, copyright 2003.

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About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.