“As soon as we do – it starts costing us.”
Problem – what problem?
Last night our daughter and son-in-law were up at the hospital with their little one. Oliver has “not been himself” for a few days, and woke yesterday with a temperature and the need for “cuddles sleep”. Then a rash. And so to hospital and the medical guessing game. And then antibiotics and observations. And the lack of medical certainty. So then overnight and more observations.
At least eleven people I know and love are involved.
Little Oliver and his mum and dad. Mrs Paul and me (I really do love me). Our family and their partners. And each a different connection and a different response. One son is in a different country, another a different town. One daughter has her own children – still coping with a chicken pox wandering through their brood.
And Mrs Paul is a mother to all our children and (in everything but biological title) the wee ones. And me the same as father. And we have the wife-husband thing running throughout all these relationships. As does each. Each a wife or husband as well as a father or mother or uncle or aunty.
The caring gets prioritised.
Which means knowing each as well as each. Because prioritising simply means meeting a concern. Acting on a concern. Which means doing something AND nothing. A word OR a silence. Doing AND not doing. And each doing or not doing costs. And this is just our small family and a short period of “living ripples”. And then the other “cost” … allowing each to be themselves – to not over (or under) protect.
Some have a natural sense of that – others not so much. Some have a need for details – others not so much. Some have a need to control – others not so much. And at times like this it is very easy to say or not say the “right thing” – to do or not do “the right thing”.
Perhaps that is why the “Passing By On The Other Side” parable is timeless.
When we don’t know the “other” it is easier to do or not do – to care or not care – to convince ourselves that not doing and not saying is the best response. Never admitting it is the least costly response.
Whether it is with a stranger or one of our own.
With a stranger there is the “social uncertainty” of the “other’s” response. And the reaction of any passers-by. And to our own busy schedule and limited resources. Have I the finances to “pay for” that stranger’s needs? And will I get in too deep if I offer?
With “one of our own” there are the “family dynamics uncertainties”. The past, present and future all connected. The individual family dynamics. The “sticking your nose in” odds. The level of emotional heat to contend with. The aftermath of being judged to have done or said the “wrong thing” (or the absence of one and/or the other).
I am learning ,more and more to keep it simple. To be who I am right now.
Neither a father or father-in law. Not a husband or friend. Not even a dad or a granddad. Not a Christian or an Atheist or Muslim or Hindu or black or white or western or eastern or rich or poor or busy or with time or right or wrong … To simply be who I am right now. The me who loves and is loved. Love that is known and knows. Love that does not count cost as “cost”.
And am I disagreeing with myself (again)?
“Passing By On The Other Side” is timeless and universal.
It’s about me.
Not you or him or that “need” over there.
It’s about me.
That is the “cost” of love.
(and now we are off to the hospital)