A few weeks ago, I ran into someone I knew slightly. Thrown together in the train with 30 minutes to kill, we got talking & exchanged news. I hadn’t seen this person for a few years, but we exchange our new telephone no’s and then got talking.
Over the next 25+ minutes, I got to hear about the last 8+ years of her journey- she’d had a few family crises to deal with, the house they were in developed some major structural issues and insurance had not covered. She’d had a few medical scares in the extended family. She was making regular trips back to India to support and help her parents because they were now quite old.
She’d changed jobs and her new workplace was very different and she was struggling to stay motivated… It went on..when we got to Richmond and she was about to get off, she turned and gave me a warm hug & said – I feel so good, its been great to catch up. Can you send me the number of that nursing agency in … that you suggested for mum & dad.
I too was smiling, it had been good to see her…but a little bit later, it struck me- in the 30 minutes, she had never asked how my parents or kids were, what I was doing, how my last few years had been!
I had asked her how she & her family were and she had unburdened herself!
Later that day, on my way back home, I reflected on the many relationships I have now & have had in the past. And some of them are similar to this one. I do have & I am certain others have such relationships as well. People who reach out to you only when they have a need.Either to just discuss the latest issues they may be facing or because they need your support or assistance with something…
Not that they are not perfectly nice & caring people, they usually are- but your place in their life is somewhat like a tech support centre. Sometimes even the “how are you” question they ask is just a conversation opener- once you’ve said fine, they move on to the issue at hand before you can elaborate or after you’ve spent about 30 mins helping them thru their issues….they end the phone call with- ” everything fine at your end right” ” aur baaki sab theek hai na” …..
Thankfully the 1,5 hour return trip from work gave me an opportunity to process these thoughts and take them to a natural conclusion. And maybe a sign of my emerging maturity! I thought to myself- perhaps it is good that they feel they can reach out to me, when they are truly agitated or disturbed or need a hand- rather than go to one of their many other friends, it means they value the support & sometimes advice I guess- rather like a doctor, who you trust to fix you up when you are a bit crook! I can live with that! ** a metaphorical pat on the back **
I then wondered if there are people in my life, who are my “doctors”- I do hope not, I hope that I nurture relationships in all the seasons not just the stormy season- but if there are- My apologies! I will do better….
But as I got into my car at the station, I thought to myself- What an amazing thought process was triggered by a chance meeting at a crowded station platform…and how thankful I was for every single friendship I have out there!