On Doing Nothing

Life teaches us so many lessons and one of the most difficult for me has been learning to do nothing. No, I don’t mean that I need lessons on being a couch potato and using the remote control on a Sunday afternoon (I manage that very well on my own!). What I’m talking about is inaction in the face of something that causes every fiber of your being to scream “Do something, dammit!!!”

This lesson came up recently on a forum that I regularly visit, when someone else was desperately wanting to help an ill co-worker whose condition was supposed to be a secret from everyone (including the person wanting to help). My sage advice was that sometimes the hardest and only thing to be done is nothing at all… just wait and see and let the actions of the person who you want to help dictate your next step.

I shouldn’t be surprised, but once again, life has handed me one of those “let’s see if you can practice what you preach” orders. An old acquaintance recently resurfaced in my life and it truly felt like rediscovering a long lost friend. We have a lot in common, he and I, more than I remembered or would have given him credit for. In getting to know him again (it’s been 15 years since we “hung out”), I realize that he’s one of the few people who have always accepted me as is, even the strange and unusual bits of me that most people don’t get. In short, he’s been a friend whose on-again, off-again presence I never really appreciated.
We’ve talked more in the last two weeks than in the last decade. What he won’t talk about in any detail, however, is that he’s ill. Not he has a bad cold ill, but terminally ill. When I saw him recently for the first time, the shadow of death was already upon him. It’s one of those strange and unusual aspects of me… I can sometimes see when someone’s close to death, even if they appear outwardly healthy. And Death is most assuredly stalking Andy and he knows it. He refuses to go into detail, but from what he has shared, it’s a fairly safe assumption that he has a brain tumor that’s getting progressively worse. He won’t say exactly what’s going on, only glosses over it, and tells me that it’s not for me to worry over.

Here’s where every fiber of my being screams “Do something, Aisling!” I’m a healer and my patron deity demands of me that I help when it’s asked of me. I can’t cure him, but I can certainly help to ease his pain and give comfort. I can do something, dammit, something to help him through this… healings, prayers, holding his hand, making tea, being a shoulder to cry on.

My friend does not want my help. “Don’t even think about a healing and don’t try to help, Aisling. I’m not dead yet and if I need your help then, I’ll let you know.” (All said with a silly grin, poking slight fun at another of my strange and unusual talents, mediumship). So, I get to sit on my hands and wait patiently for what? For my friend to die. He’s ready to let go of this life; I’m not ready for him to go yet. I never will be. Yet, because he has asked it, I will not take healing actions on his behalf. It is my friend’s wish, perhaps one of the last that I’ll be able to grant for him. That far outweighs my own need to “do something.”


3 thoughts on “On Doing Nothing

  1. Anonymous 24 October 2007 / 10:26 pm

    May the gods give you both strength through this difficult time. You are both in my prayers.-a friend

  2. Aindreas 6 October 2007 / 10:30 pm

    Nothing? Aisling dear, you’ve already done so much more than you know. Take comfort in knowing that you’ve given me exactly what I need – open arms and warm friendship. There are no words to say just how thankful I am for that. May Isis shelter you under her wings and bless you always. Love, Andy

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