I have a lawyer friend who I’ve used and abused on many occasions: when domestic violence broke a soul; when alcohol destroyed a marriage; when mental illness invaded a family; when ageism led to layoffs; when special education services were revoked; when misdiagnosis led to mayhem.
I trust him.
He personally advised, consoled, cajoled and educated me on demand: calmly, professionally, and empathetically. At midnight. On Sunday mornings. At his kid’s Confirmation. He always returned my call, regardless.
I didn’t always like what I heard, but he told me nevertheless. Free of charge. Friend to friend.
In gratitude, I took him to dinner. In reality, I owe him a beach house. Waterfront.
As I apologize for bothering him, he assures me, again and again for over a decade now, “Stop. This is what I do. It’s what I love to do. I want to help, especially my friends, wherever and whenever I can.” And he means it, as his brilliant wife concurs.
I believe in my friend, and he knows it.
I didn’t comprehend his generosity until just recently, until someone asked me for advice.
Ahhh, no. It’s not like that.
I write copy: I get paid for sharing the words I write, the message invoked, on brochures, websites, e-alerts, Facebook, Twitter. For dentists and jewelers and schools and airports and financial services and car dealers. And sometimes, I write here, with no rules, no parameters, no pay.
Now that I’m back in the working world, my friends see there’s more to me than a nose-ring and potty-mouth. Which is unusual, somewhat awkward, and genuinely humbling.
But when a friend, colleague or acquaintance asks me to take a look at something, or asks if I’d write a little blurb about… that’s when my insides shine and I know why my lawyer friend always takes my call.
It’s good for the ego: reassurance we know what we’re doing.
It’s good for the soul: giving back to the people who make us who we are. It’s sharing our skill, because it’s the right thing to do.
It’s why when I was referred to write for a fundraiser by a friend-of-a-friend who read a blogpost mourning a dead dad, I was floored.
Then honored. Someone read what I wrote, and deemed me worthy to represent my town supporting a family who has suffered too much.
This braindump of a blog which I thought few if anybody read, now has me representing my town, the community and a family I don’t know personally but relate to intimately.
I’m forever touched and thankful for the invitation, and will get straight to work, truly happy to do so and dedicated to doing the best job possible.