Follow the Effort

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.

A few years back, I heard someone complain to her personal coach that her relationship with her brother was over  because  he  didn’t show  any  indication  of  caring about her as a person. Her coach asked if there was anything at all he’d done for her, even if she didn’t like it. He had. He’d bought tickets for the two of them to attend a sporting  event  together  at an upcoming  family celebration. Buying tickets turned out  to  be the one thing that saved their relationship.

Attract Him Back

As her coach said, “Follow the effort.” Her brother hadn’t seemed supportive during some trying times and yet, he did do one small thing meant to give her emotional support. It was so small amidst their sea of problems that she’d nearly missed it until her coach suggested she “follow  the effort.”  He didn’t  know  how to show emotional support but one tiny effort on his part showed he still cared.

I thought  it was an interesting  lesson,  and one I’ve used in determining which relationships were worth sticking with.  If  only one person  is making  an effort,  then there is no relationship.

It reminds me of a rule a colleague stated to me years ago when he and his wife were having trouble with both of them making an effort. He  was at his wit’s end and tired of seeing a counselor alone. He told me that the person who puts the least amount of effort into a relationship is the one who drives the relationship.

I would  love  to prove  him  wrong,  but  in all these years, I never have been able to. No matter how much one of the two gives, if the other gives back nothing, then the entire tone of the  relationship  is one of imbalance. For most couples anyway, that is how it  works and the emotional support is often only in one direction.

I think it would be nice if neither could tell who gave more, rather than having to search for the effort.

And yet…in the past month….

Someone asked me if I’d heard from a friend of mine since Daddy died. I did last Friday, but not before then. The someone asking the question was angry that I hadn’t heard a word and couldn’t understand  why I hadn’t at this time if no other. She expected it, even if I really hadn’t and had been too preoccupied to notice.

But what  I’ve  felt has  been  surprising  and  uplifting, and I’m grateful for it even if I can’t explain it.

I  have felt   friends  coming to support me “energetically” if not in person or with notes of condolences  or  murmured  words.  I  have  felt  the  “beamed light” (her words) from my friend in D. C., even though we had lost touch  by email for a while and  she didn’t know about Daddy. I have felt the prayers and sympathetic  hopes of friends faraway during my transition  to being fatherless. I have felt the energy of readers reaching out to me, even though they have been silent in recognizable ways.

It’s an odd thing because the effort isn’t necessarily seen, but it is  most  definitely  felt, and there  are times when it really lifts me up and  carries me. It’s why I believe there is such a thing as distance healing.