Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Well Wishers in Community Service/Treatment #29 TDM-1 #12

On January 12, 2015, while sitting in chemo-chair number #24, I thought about the last time I was in this treatment center. It was the end of 2014. I had settled-in and was waiting to receive my drug from the pharmacy. As I opened the cover of my iPad, a young girl stopped by my chair. In her hand she held several cards.  She separated one and offered it to me. I took it and said, “Thank you.” We exchanged smiles, and she walked away.

I looked down to find three snowmen drawn in thick-lined black ink. The picture appeared to be a copy and as a final artistic touch, the snowmen were given color with crayons. I looked on the back, read the few signatures and thought, “How nice, a little holiday cheer.” Then it hit me, “Oh no, I am one of those people. I am the sick person that someone thought about when they decided what to do for a community service project." Now that I was on the receiving end of such a project, the intent of the card was lost in its simplicity. These people didn’t know me; I didn’t know them. The card did not feel warm and fuzzy. It felt superficial and fake.

I suppose I should be more appreciative of the card, but I can’t. If there was noticeable effort given to the work, I would feel differently. The lackluster endeavor made me think these young people had to do a community service project to fulfill a class’s or sorority's requirement or to pad their college applications. The forcing of young people to be involved in doing “good” for their community should at least ask that they show a certain amount of effort even if there is no honesty behind the giving.

Cancer patients are indeed in need. My former treatment center had a basket filled with items made especially for people like me. From that basket, I grabbed a few cute hand-knitted hats to keep my head warm when I was bald and the weather was cold. I appreciated the work behind the hats. When my children were small, we participated in sending cards and supplies to American soldiers overseas. (Why our government is not supplying our soldiers with these basic needs baffles my mind, but that is for another post.) The new razors, shaving cream, toothbrushes, and soap that we packed in shoe boxes I hope made those young men and women happy upon receiving them. Now that I have received a card from a stranger, I believe the cards we sent with our packages probably were not as well received as the goodies.

6 of these are mine, the two beside the small poodle mix on
the left were adopted by other families.   
Community service is good for society. I believe in it. I have rescued many dogs and cats from my local animal shelter. I gave them a warm place to sleep, medicines to heal them and finally showed them to the public where people chose them to become their new family members. During my time doing rescue work, my family added four dogs and four cats to our existing two dogs and three cats household. Life without them would be easier for sure. No de-furring of my house would be needed. No opening and closing doors to let each dog, or cat, in or out of the house would occur. If I didn’t have them in my life, there would be less love and more loneliness in my home. For that reason, I saw the result of and knew the work I was doing was benefiting many people as well as the non-human animals I saved.

It would have been nicer, at least for me, if these young people had spent time making a gift instead of a card. A knitted hat or scarf, an origami animal, or even giving out a few dollars in cash that the group had raised through a car-washing event would have brightened my day more than a few names on a post card. Am I wrong in feeling this way? What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment