Some nights, as I've explained before, I like to watch a funny movie before bed. Tonight's selection The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was just what I needed.
See, Douglas Adams, the man who wrote 'Hitchhiker' starting in 1979, was also a close friend of Richard Dawkins, also known to the God fearing types as the blasphemous author of several atheist books including the one I've read, The God Delusion. Both men had, and in the case of Dawkins still have, a lifelong pursuit of the age old question of "Why am I here?" Subsequently, it's the same question I ask myself all the time.
I guess I love the movie so much because it takes a look at the question and spoofs it, or more to the point, it tries to answer it in some pretty odd ways. None of us really knows why we're here, much less take the time to pull ourselves out of our own little dramas to simply ask the question of "why am I here" to begin with.
Today, I actually took the time to break down who I was and where I'm currently at. Sufficed to say, I've got school going on, I've got things I want to do, places I want to see, but it's all really secondary to my unsatisfied "mommy gene," which coincides with the "Why am I here" question. I think I've figured out a good answer to the "why am I here" question and I think it has to do with the fact that I live to share love.
I don't have children and that's very much on purpose. I'm far too selfish (and too careless) to take care of a small child. I am deathly afraid that I'd hurt a child absentmindedly or I'd sleep through when it was hungry and about a million other reasons of why I don't think I'd make a good parent. Now, I know quite a few people who would look at me and call me absolutely crazy because anyone in their right mind would know that someone that concerned about not damaging another human life would be a fairly decent parent, if not a great one. I've been told lots of times I'd make a great mom, but let's face it, I'm 39, I'm not having children.
I spend a lot of time expressing that unused 'mommy gene' by taking care of those around me. If it's not my World of Warcraft guild who I constantly watch over and attend to, making sure that everyone in our little guild family is happy or at least has been told they're loved and valued, it's the young people at school who I take the time to copy notes for them when they've over slept and not made it to lecture or have questions about our assignments. I'm constantly a sort of Mom that people come to see on a daily basis. That, I think is a good thing, but it really doesn't give grandchildren, now does it?
Well, I guess it's ok. I'm at the point that I'm kind of like my Aunt Anita, very sorry she didn't have children when she had the chance. But, I also look at it in another way...
Today, while visiting for another 40 minutes on the phone with the friend I've been going on about in my last three posts, he asked me for a favor. It was simple, would I please take him to the doctor's office for a cortisone shot. Now, anyone who knows me understands one simple fact, if you ask me, "Hey Sher, can I ask a favor," my standard answer before I even hear what they need is, "anything you'd like." When someone I love or have a friendship with asks me to do something for them, my unsatisfied mommy gene unwittingly stands up and turns into Supergirl, leaping tall buildings to help those I love and value in my life. I've done all sorts of favors. I've held things for people, I've been a mailing address and the delivery person for a group of folks who wanted to send gifts to a friend arriving in Vegas after a month of being in Europe. I've babysat, I've painted, I've given Photoshop lessons...I've done practically everything under the sun for my friends and I've never once asked for anything in return. To be honest, I never thought that friendship meant that you had to ask for things in return when all they were asking for was your particular brand of nutritional value to aid in a situation. Put another way, being a friend shouldn't require compensation, should it?
As we covered in the last post, my friend is pretty stubborn and to boot, ferociously independent. He believes he can do everything himself, when what he really needs is a friend to take some time out and unselfishly give him support. Ah, but there's that word, 'selfish'. See in Vegas, for a good majority, when you ask a favor, the most common response is "what do I get out of it?" Now, to ask someone a favor and get an answer like that means that they're really not your friend and they're just using you for their own ends. "What do I get out of it," HA! Hogwash! Anyone who would ask that question of me when I asked them for support would get my boot severely planted up their backside for even thinking of such nonsense. What do you get out of it? The fact that you unselfishly gave your time to someone who needed you. That should be payment in and of itself and that's coins you can put in your emotional piggy bank for the day when you are feeling down and asking yourself the question we started out with "why am I here."
So, after some hemming, hawing and other things, my friend finally got down to asking me for the favor of me driving him to the doctor for a shot. I didn't think twice, I didn't stop, pass go or collect $200 on the proverbial Monopoly board, I immediately said yes. After I answered he tried to explain some more of why he was asking me for the favor and I stopped him dead in his tracks. Ok, backstory time...my friend has had surgery on both of his knees, both of his shoulders and is currently having back problems. I may have blew it ten years ago by not being there to help him through the knee and shoulder things, but I will be damned if I'm not showing up for this round of care. Being that he was on a roll on his explanation as to why he was asking me for the favor, I told him to politely shut up. I stopped him cold and gave this response:
"Ok, we both know I'm 39, I don't have kids, but I do have this indescribable need to take care of the people around me. Now, if this means I have to get up at 5am to get you to a doctors appointment by 7:30am, then by gods, that's what I'm going to do. You need support right now and I'm not going to sit there and flake out or do some other boneheaded thing that would prevent me from giving you support when you need it. I'm your friend, that means if you need me, you call me, you tell me what you need and I'll move heaven and earth to get it done for you. I am not one of those selfish people who asks for anything in return. I don't want anything from you except to see you feel better. If you're feeling better because I took an hour to drive you somewhere, then that's payment enough. But think of it another way...by you asking me for help, you're actually doing ME the favor! You're making me get up, go outside, and do things with another human being and that's what I need right now. So really the favor you're really asking is for me to do something that's good for me mentally and physically, so how could that be a bad thing? For heavens sake, if you couldn't get up because you were in pain and needed something from the store, all you would have to do is give me your list and I'd do that for you too! Now stop all of this hemming and hawing, give me the date you need me to drive you and that's that!"
You should have heard the sigh of relief on the other end of the line. You see, before he and I got into contact again, he was with this horrible woman who was treating him like a damn yo-yo and sufficed to say, she doesn't sound like a very good person because when he'd ask for a favor from her, he'd get all sorts of drama in return. Ok, stop. There should be NO drama whatsoever going into selflessly doing something for someone else, especially where their health and quality of life is concerned. OOH, people who bring drama to someone already in a lot of physical pain just piss me off to no end. They are the antithesis of my life mantra, "Love is the only truth and worth sharing every day." I don't care if it's platonic love, romantic love, or whatever...you always step up to the plate and give love, it's the only constant in the universe that is priceless yet doesn't cost you anything to just take a moment and be kind.
Which brings us all the way back to the "Why am I here" question...the most base answer I could give and I think the world's bravest and most unselfish answer is to say that I'm on this planet to share love and make sure those who don't get a swift kick in the pants and start doing it. The only drawback is in the fine print...
When someone shares love with you, don't take advantage of it or be selfish about it. When you know you have a friend like that, don't be remiss to ask if you need help or support when you know the person you're asking just wants to be there for you in a time of need.
Most of all, when someone shares love with you and does something selfless to make sure you're happy and safe, just be grateful for it and remember you don't have to pay it back, just pay it forward.