May 14th, 1996


why I do the things I do

Today I've been thinking a lot about why I do the things I do. On the way to Houston, Dad said he was trying to figure out why I am so attracted to people who have a lot of needs. "Normal" people (people who are shallow, who have no needs, or who want to do their own thing with no trouble) don't want anything to do with me.

I understand now. It isn't so simple. Part of me defends it because it is Christlike to reach out to people who are hurting. It is true. And it is true that mostly I do not actively seek out people with deep needs as friends. But underneath it is anger and pain, and underneath it is a selfish need to feel good about me. I try to make up for the areas where I can't help being physically dependent by doing as much as I can--and a lot that I can't--for other people. I think that if I do good things for other people, their lives will improve and I will feel good because it was because of me. But this is selfish because I have to find my hope in God and I am disappointed because I am not "God" enough to improve their lives.

I sometimes think about Mother Teresa and try to justify my care-taking by looking at her. But there is no gain for her in her work. She feeds children who will more likely die in her arms than make it to adulthood. That is what it means to act unselfishly. It isn't to put my needs aside. It is to trust God to meet my needs so that I can reach out.

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