Monday, 18 April 2011

A friend telephoned me

yesterday afternoon. I had left her a message to say I might be off-line for a bit because I was having problems with the computer. (I did manage to get it booted up this morning by using a trick my brother-in-law suggested as an emergency measure. It will not last.) "Would I," she asked, "be willing to accept some help to buy a new computer?" My immediate reaction to this was "No, of course not" but she went on to explain. She was left money, a large sum of money, with which "to do good". It was left to her by another friend and, sensibly, she has invested it and uses the interest to do as her friend asked. She targets genuine need directly rather than a vague donation to some charitable cause. "It is," she told me, "surprisingly hard to give away." I can understand that. I felt most uncomfortable but then she said, "I do not want to give it to you. I want to give it to the people you help, people really in need." She left me to think about that. I talked it over with my father and I spent a good time awake last night thinking about this. I need a computer to do my job. Other people need me or someone like me. It helps them do their job and, all too often, their job is about saving lives. But I also use my computer for things like writing this blog, keeping in touch with distant friends and as a word processor for my writing. I also read some blogs. That is all part of my recreation I suppose. This morning I sat down and sent my friend an e-mail. I feel I cannot accept her offer in full but I am going to allow her to help a little, perhaps half of the cost? I still do not feel comfortable about this but I think I understand that it is something she wants to do. I hope I am doing the right thing. It is a curious situation to be in. What would you do?


widdershins said...

What a wonderful friend...

Now, what is the difference between accepting her offer to pay for the whole of a new computer rather than half? Why did you feel uncomfortable? Why was your default reaction to refuse this gift? ...

Do you not trust that she gives you this gift from a free and open heart? (i.e. no strings attached?

Man, these are big questions, I know... but perhaps on a spiritual level this might be stuff you need to look at.

I'd accept her gift - all of it - with big tears and lots of hugs.

If we can't accept such wondrous things from friends, imagine how many wondrous things from strangers pass right by us, never to be noticed at all.

... in me 'umble opinion, but you did ask.

Anonymous said...

I think I would do what you have done Cat. It is nice, very nice. It would be strange too. It is okay to accept for the work bit though. That's not for you. It is for other people. Accept that and enjoy. Not many people have such thoughtful friends. Ros

catdownunder said...

Yes, I did ask didn't I Widdershins? Yes, big questions. My answer is that I do not think my friend should be paying for my "recreational" use of the computer - but the work use of the computer? Okay. I will live with it...and I know I am much too independent!
And of course I am going to hug her - we do anyway!

Anonymous said...

Many years ago I was offered a sum of money to pay for air tickets for me and two small children so I could leave my abusive husband. Like you I didn't want to take the money as I believed I would never be able to pay it back. She begged me to accept it and said that one day when my circumstances were better I could 'pay it on' to someone else in need and I reluctantly agreed mainly because I had to think of my children and there was no way I'd ever get the money together on my own. 15 years later I was in a position to do just that and now I have a saving account for money to give away. At least once every year I find someone I know who really NEEDS a helping hand.

It's very hard to give money to people in a gracious way that allows them to keep their respect and so I say the same thing my wonderful friend Joyce said all those years ago. Take the money and when you're in a position to make sure you help someone else too. I never tell anyone about it, it remains a secret between me and the recipient.

It's given me enormous pleasure over the years and I always remember Joyce and her incredibly generous gesture. I'm sure your friend would feel honoured to have her offer accepted.

Maybe you could accept the gift on a similar basis? You obviously care deeply about people and would be sure to pay it forward in the future. Hope this helps you :-)

Ann Patey

Anonymous said...

Ann is right - pass it on - but you do anywa! Chris

Anita in SE IN said...

Take the money, one of the hardest things for most people is to accept help. You do a great deal to help others, you need to allow someone else the opportunity to help you, help others.
Yes you use the computer for your own use, but not when you need to be doing your work instead.
If you worked in an office, chances are that you would use the work computer to check e-mail and blogs when you had no other work or on break or lunch time, most people do.
It does not take away from getting your works done.

Melinda Szymanik said...

Your recreational use of the computer helps you to help others. No one can 'give' all the time. You could not do the good work you do without taking care of yourself, which includes writing, blogging and relaxing. I would take the gift and as others have suggested 'pay it forward' when and if you are able. The gift is freely given

Caroline said...

I think you should accept it in the spirit it is given. Don't let your 'ego' get in the way or it will stop the flow of karma. And if you use the computer for a bit of recreation, so be it. It would be impossible not to with our internet-led way of life.