I often feel that I’m not needed, and that can be hard to bear, after insinuating myself into a variety of positions where it seemed only I could facilitate. We set up a robust swing for the grands, a decade ago, but found that a garden bench swing was also needed for ourselves. We did sit, often with a G&T in hand, musing about life, the countryside view, during long afternoons, sure. But today the swing moves gently in the breeze, almost never used. Good for the moss and lichens, of course.
Yes, inexorably, life moves on, and the work we used to do can be done just as well, probably better, by others. And it’s been good to be relieved of the pressure too; too much neediness insisting on our attention can be (has been) oppressive. But sometimes, sometimes a little frisson of another’s need can be a bit exalting — yes, I can help with that! Oh, the thrill of being needed can send a jolt of electricity, of penetrating joy, that is hard to describe.
I’m called to help this weekend with the installation of a couple radiators. I can do that — we had drained the system down just a little in order to cap off the connecting pipes, prior to re-decorating, and now it’s time to put the new radiators in place. We can do it again together, and then the carpet can go down. I can hardly wait to get stuck in.
After I twirled around with the lawn mowing, yesterday, I was asked if I could help with a drain issue. Oh, yes, I could, I definitely could! Removing the blockage was yukky, but it was something I was needed for. It didn’t matter, getting dirty. The thrill of being needed more than compensated for the temporary mess, and now the drain runs freely once more.
I wonder if perhaps we forget this human condition at our peril, this feeling that yes, we are needed for this and that job, activity, errand, memory, musing, humour foil. It doesn’t matter what we may be needed for, it’s the being needed that counts.
In my case, I usually forget that I’m needed for the joy of gentle teasing, and I guess that if I can be needed for that, I can learn to like it too.