Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wednesday Factoid: Selfless

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What was a time when you acted selflessly?
I guess the best way to answer this is to discuss a time I behaved in an unselfish way that benefited someone else because it was the right thing to do, but required a sacrifice from me. I still can't say they were "selfless" acts.

I took care of my mom every day when she had hurt her back and couldn't move around by herself, but like . . . that seems like basic humanity there. To help your mom when she's injured. I had to ride my bike to her house every day and make sure she got food and pick up her medicine and stuff. I hired a helper when she wouldn't let me help her take a bath but would trust an assistant with a medical background. And I came and kept her company, and bought her a stool she could use in the tub since she couldn't stand. I had to spend a bunch of time and energy and a little money to do all that, but . . . I would have been a JERK if I wasn't willing to support my mom if I had the ability to do so, right?

The other thing that maybe fewer people would do and maybe sounds more selfless for some reason is that I took one of my friends in when he became homeless. I was pretty reluctant to do it because the outlook was not so good on him getting out of my house anytime soon, and I really hate having roommates even if they're people I like. I was very stressed out about it and felt like I was sacrificing a lot of my personal comfort in opening my home to my friend for an indeterminate amount of time.

But I always balance statements like that against "oh no, I sacrificed my personal comfort to stop my friend from becoming a homeless person." What kind of friend would I be if I'd said to him, "sorry, I realize you've exhausted all your other options, but I'm going to say no too. I love ya buddy but you're on your own"?

My friend had various circumstances that made his chances for employment and living independently pretty low. I knew that he would want to clear out as soon as possible but I didn't know if he could. I did everything I could to support him while he was there, and he did manage to get his first job and move out of my house in about two months. I still stepped in to help him a few times with lending money, offering resources on finding his next jobs and places to live, and being there for moral support sometimes. I do a decent amount of "giving" in the relationship, and there's not a whole lot of concrete stuff I can point to that I'm getting in return besides enjoying being his friend.

But I still don't think the term for any of that is "selfless." It's the closest I've gotten, I guess.


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