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 Â because Â he Â didnâ€™t show Â any Â indication Â of Â caring about her as a person. Her coach asked if there was anything at all heâ€™d done for her, even if she didnâ€™t like it. He had. Heâ€™d bought tickets for the two of them to attend a sporting Â event Â together Â at an upcoming Â family celebration. Buying tickets turned out Â to Â be the one thing that saved their relationship.
As her coach said, â€œFollow the effort.â€ Her brother hadnâ€™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 sheâ€™d nearly missed it until her coach suggested she â€œfollow Â the effort.â€ Â He didnâ€™t Â know Â how to show emotional support but one tiny effort on his part showed he still cared.
I thought Â it was an interesting Â lesson,Â and one Iâ€™ve used in determining which relationships were worth sticking with.Â If Â only one person Â is making Â an effort, Â 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 Â was at his witâ€™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 Â love Â to prove Â him Â wrong, Â but Â 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 Â relationship Â is one of imbalance. For most couples anyway, that is how it Â 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 yetâ€¦in the past month….
Someone asked me if Iâ€™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 hadnâ€™t heard a word and couldnâ€™t understand Â why I hadnâ€™t at this time if no other. She expected it, even if I really hadnâ€™t and had been too preoccupied to notice.
But what Â Iâ€™ve Â felt has Â been Â surprising Â and Â uplifting, and Iâ€™m grateful for it even if I canâ€™t explain it.
I Â have felt Â friends Â coming to support me â€œenergeticallyâ€ if not in person or with notes of condolences Â or Â murmured Â words. Â I Â have Â felt Â the Â â€œbeamed lightâ€ (her words) from my friend in D. C., even though we had lost touchÂ by email for a while and Â she didnâ€™t know about Daddy. I have felt the prayers and sympathetic Â hopes of friends faraway during my transition Â to being fatherless. I have felt the energy of readers reaching out to me, even though they have been silent in recognizable ways.
Itâ€™s an odd thing because the effort isnâ€™t necessarily seen, but it is Â most Â definitely Â felt, and there Â are times when it really lifts me up and Â carries me. Itâ€™s why I believe there is such a thing as distance healing.