I am a card-carrying crybaby. After all these years, I haven’t been able to get over it. I would love to donate my time to charities; food kitchens, reading to orphans, visiting and holding the hands of old people who don’t have any visitors, volunteering at an animal shelter; you get the picture.
But here’s the problem: I cry about EVERYTHING. And I do mean everything. A TV commercial can make me cry. I just have to think of something sad and I am awash with tears. Books I’ve read can make me cry. When I lived in Texas, I tried to volunteer at an old folks’s home. I couldn’t stop crying. However, I was able to volunteer at a place called *Bryan’s House.
My job was to hold and comfort babies who had been born of parents with AIDS or of parents who took drugs during their pregnancies. The babies were born addicted, and everything affected their nervous systems.
The child I worked with came into the world with a cocaine addiction. He was so sensitive to light and sound that the only thing that comforted him was to be swaddled tightly and rocked. I don’t remember if I ever saw his eyes open; they were always shut tight. The only reason that I did not cry over this baby was that he cried enough for both of us.
So—what’s a person to do when they want to volunteer time for those less fortunate, the needy, the sick, the homeless, the strays; when they themselves are hobbled by bouts of involuntary weeping?
I donate jewelry that I’ve made, or I send money. Granted, it’s a pretty antiseptic way of helping, but it’s better than nothing. Surely the people I’d like to help don’t need me crying all over them.
At one point I wanted to take training to help vets suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’m a Reiki master and I wanted to put my gift to good use. My amazing step-daughter, a veteran of five deployments overseas, quickly told me just how much I would have to do just to qualify to help them. Reiki is certainly helpful, but for them, it wouldn’t begin to help.
So I guess at this point in my life, all I can do is what I can. Right now, it’s having my dad under our roof with us. Having him here at this time in his life doesn’t make me cry; it makes me happy and grateful, and even joyful. I know he is relieved that we can take care of everything for him as he has always taken care of everything and everyone else.
As much as I would like to give time to all worthy causes, right now my focus is on my best worthy cause; my dad and his comfort. Helping him makes me happy, not sad. We have to go with what we have, not what we would like to be; that’s just how life is. Although I admire those who make room in their lives to help others, I realize that I am who I am, and all I can do is what I am now doing.
For any of you fellow crybabies out there, you are not alone. We do what we can and how we can. We can’t help being who we are, and we volunteer in our own ways. Today I raise a sodden hankie to all of us crybabies who wear our tender hearts on our sleeves. We cry if we must, but we help where we can.
*Bryan’s House: …founded at the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis to care for children suffering from that dreaded, often fatal infection. Little Bryan Allen, whose mother contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion, was the inspiration for our name. In 1985, at only 8 months old, Bryan become one of the first Dallas area children to die from AIDS. Later, his mother Lydia and older brother Matthew also succumbed to AIDS.
…Today with capacity to serve over 1,200 people a year, we continue to honor the legacy of baby Bryan, Lydia and Matthew by providing services to comfort and support families in our community through:
- Medically Managed Care
- Respite Care
- Social Services
Under our Medically Managed Care, 90% of children 0-5 years of age, 9% are their sibilings, and 1% are their families.”