Friendship under the Weather
Updated: Jan 26, 2022
Last week the infamous virus chose to visit my family. Despite our hostility, we had no option but to host it. But I must acknowledge the guest for teaching me a few very valuable lessons.
While the general module was accessible to all of us and taught us the Importance of health and relationships, the custom module was unlocked for me only on payment of premium, the first-hand experience of Covid 19.
A week is a long long time to learn and I have a notebook full of reflections but I will just share the juice of it.
I decoded the mystery of ' what is love?'! I now see love essentially as a combination of care, support, empathy and reliability. It could be constrained by capacity, but only to a limited extent! Remove any of these elements and love becomes a noun, an idea. And at this age and stage of my life, I have this absolute clarity that I prefer it to be a verb, an action minus the rush of passion and adventure which I looked for as an adolescent.
My extended family members and friends inquired about our health and wanted to know what we would do. I heard curiosity recklessly masked in care and I couldn't care less!
Then there were those who texted saying "let us know if you need anything". I couldn't trust most of them and an attempt was enough to convert my intuition to data!
Then there were the friends and family ready with advice: thankfully I lived in a city and had access to doctors, so this didn't meet my need for consideration or empathy. I wished that before they called me they had taken a moment to connect with what I might be needing: some space, ease and a silent prayer.
Then there was another category of people who thought it best to ignore the diagnosis and get me involved in contributing, just bombarding me with demands!! But they couldn't match the authenticity and intensity of my 'bad weather' connections! I wonder how they always have only bad news to share. X is ill, y had an accident, z lost his job..... and then there is a very kind and compassionate request, call them.. pray for them.. let them stay with you for a while, motivate them etc.
Here I am coughing and sneezing, worrying about how to tackle the housekeeping and the family's health through this debilitating weakness and you expect me to pray for random people and world peace? ( sneer, sneer.. :( )
I couldn't find the gift beneath my irritation without connecting to my gratitude and to my met needs. A couple of my friends sent home-cooked food and it felt like a huge blessing, but what mattered more was the intention to care. There were no multiple telephone calls or endless text messages, a simple text " I left food at your door, take it ": it met many of my needs like care, support, ease, consideration, space, trust etc. I learnt that I just needed some space, rest, ease and consideration: a short text of empathic inquiry or a get well soon prayer would have served me well. Any authentic offer of support would have caused an overflow of joy but the calls to satisfy curiosity and tick off as formality drained the life energy out of me and left me worse.
I learnt that respecting others humanity does not mean letting them stomp on my space, I am responsible for meeting my needs and I need to set my boundaries and make them clear. I need not respond to all calls with " Oh yes I am doing OK, thank you so much and I will definitely let you know when I need something ".
So I learnt to choose my health over those friendships and let them be 'under the weather'. I learnt that for a deeper connection with myself , I can opt temporarily or even permanently out of some 'fair weather' or 'bad weather' or ' under the weather' relationships!! And finally, I learnt that whatever be the weather, I can create my own sunshine.