I got to work at a little past two today but I didn't log in till about 2.30. I felt slow. I dragged my feet all the way to the office. I felt like there was a huge black cloud above my head and it followed me everywhere. It made my sandwich taste bland. It made the mangoes in my fruit shake seem disappointingly pale. It even made the mild rain seem like a storm.
Now normally, I would ask myself why I felt this way but not today. Today, I knew exactly what was wrong. In fact, it's been bothering me since last night.
Last night a friend of mine texted me. One of our dear friends was really sick. I was floored. I couldn't believe it. I haven't seen her since graduation and that was a year and a half ago. We were together for four years. I asked myself how I could've lost touch with someone who was a part of my life for the longest time.
And then, the all too familiar feelings of guilt swept over me. In my memories of her, she was always so full of life. She had a way of laughing over the simplest things and I guess part of me envied her for her child-like innocence. (It's a cheesy way to put it but I can't really claim to be anything but jaded.) I started to feel guilty that I was living my life basically under the radar. When was the last time I made a difference? I asked.
Sometimes I envy the celebrities who have devoted their time doing charity. People like Angelina Jolie and Bono who have so much money that they can afford to feed the kids in Africa or do something about AIDS. When I was a teacher, I felt like I made a difference in the lives of my students. When I was an agent, I had a good feeling whenever I processed accounts efficiently. I felt like I was making a difference. Lately though, I had the impression that I wasn't making a difference anymore.
I can just see myself years from now reading this post wondering how I could turn someone's illness and make it about me.
(Bringing the focus back to her) Last night, I prayed for my friend. I usually just say a quick prayer and then it's lights out but last night was different. I've learned to be realistic when I pray. God's not some fairy godfather who grants wishes (I should know or else I would've had a six-pack by now) so I asked for her speedy and safe recovery. I didn't really know how sick she was but from what I heard, it was pretty bad. I prayed that she would get to live her life and in the process, I sincerely hoped I could find purpose in mine.
When I woke up this morning, I felt like I had to talk to my friend- if only to hear her voice telling me that she's okay. She was relatively fine when I called her. She told me what she's been up to since college and what happened when they brought her to the hospital. We had a pretty long conversation and shared a few laughs. It felt just like old times. I promised I'd go see her before Christmas and when we both ran out of things to say, I told her I was late for work and that I was always there for her if she wanted to talk.
But as soon as I ended the call, I felt bad again. I still couldn't shake the hopelessness that I felt. Like I said, it followed me all day. When was the last time I made a difference in someone's life?
I felt relieved I didn't have class this week because that meant I wouldn't have to pretend to be okay but then a friend from work asked me to teach a sound to her class. It was the first time I taught in close to two weeks. It started roughly because of how I felt but after some time, I was back to my regular self. I felt needed. I saw some purpose in my actions. In the trainees eyes, I saw the difference I was making. It may not be as monumental as feeding the poor or finding cures for diseases but it was a difference nonetheless. And suddenly, things didn't seem so bad.
There will be time for bigger things but right now, this much is good enough.