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Generosity is annoying. When a person is skilled or able in some way, others inevitably ask favors of him. A sense of charitable duty can make refusal difficult. Often, one is not feeling particularly generous when a loved one, coworker, or neighbor requests aid. Their needs are perceived as interruptions. But problems can’t be scheduled.
My brother is an IT wiz. It seems like hell. Anyone and everyone who runs into a problem even tangentially related to computers or electronics looks to him for help. To his credit, he always answers. With so many IT people offering free help to family and friends these days, it’s amazing anyone ever needs to pay for service!
My youngest sister is a physical terrorist… um, therapist. Everyone respects a knowledgeable physician, right? But the price of that knowledge is being the unpaid resource of every close acquaintance (and some distant ones, too). Family members don’t have to say a word. One just stands or moves awkwardly, and the help comes before anyone involved is ready for it. “Ouch! Um, I mean, thanks.”
Which brings me to my point.
As a tall and healthy young man, I have always been at everyone’s disposal whether or not I really wanted to be. “Can you reach this?” “Would you carry these?” “I need someone to… ” And so on. I have been loaned out to friends of family more times than I can remember. But I am beginning to reach the age when the body periodically goes on strike, perhaps in demand of better pay (food). Right now, I have bursitis in both shoulders — probably from poor posture while in front of computers — and consequently cannot help in many ways that I previously would have.
At least for a while, I have lost the opportunities to be generous in these ways. And strangely, I find myself missing such occasions to be bothered.Published in