Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Can You Do Me A Favour?"

I received a phone call from someone who was calling to ask a favour for a third person.

The caller is a person of whom I'm fond, so I refused as gently as possible, and then asked: "How did you get roped into doing this?"

She sighed what sounded to me like a sigh of enormous relief, and replied, "Oh, I'm so glad you're direct; I feel so awkward doing this!  I'm not quite sure how I was talked into it, to be honest. I think they figured I might be able to persuade you to do what they could not."

We talked a bit about how not being able to say no to "Can you do me a favour?" has gotten us into sticky and uncomfortable situations over the years. I described one of my own memorable struggles along these same lines, and we laughed together. We then agreed that when she returned from her trip out of town, she'd call me, and we'd go out for coffee together.

I am so grateful to Al-Anon, because it has taught me how to have empathy and compassion for others. Before program, that phone call would have had a negative impact upon our friendship; I'd have judged her harshly for making it.

With what I've learned in 12-Step, I could detach from the behavior, the phone call, and continue to enjoy the person. I can accept that we all make these kinds of errors in judgement, and most of the time, there's nothing behind it but our own inability to stand our ground in the face of pressure and pleas. I can let go of thinking that I know how she (or the person she was calling for) "should" behave, and instead, reach out for what we have in common - our shared humanity, and our daily journey in the world around us. I can make an effort to take any and all chances I'm offered, to spread laughter and joy.

When I was new to Al-Anon, a sentiment like the one contained in my last sentence would have had me rolling my eyes and snorting contempt. I didn't believe that was possible, so I saw any mention of it as pretentious, cloying nonsense.

Nowadays, I believe whole-heartedly in the power of love, and I enjoy being this person; it's much more fun.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, love is what matters. And from that flows all kind of compassion and acceptance.