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Can Caring Go Too Far?
For world hunger awareness at Arkansas Governors School we had one meal to demonstrate that concept to us. We were given a card which either said first, second, or third world country. Once we received our cards we ate according to our country. When I received first world I felt horrible. I wasn’t going to learn anything. Once I had gotten my food I ate the rice and gave whatever else I could away. I wanted to share and I felt bad for having what some of them did not.
Someone pointed out to me that this was nowhere near a representation of true world hunger and I agreed. I decided to go 30 hours without food so I could have more of an experience about world hunger. I knew that it still wouldn’t be near what starving people really go through on a daily basis but it would be a start. A few people said that they were going to do this with me and we decided to start on the next day.
When everyone came from breakfast the next day they told me that they weren’t going to participate. Even though I was alone, I was still determined to go through with it and I did.
Thirty-six hours without food. When I did this I terrified my friends. They we’re scared for me but I told them I was fine. I didn’t want them to fuss over me. I was okay. It irritated me a little that they were so worried.
Less than a week later, one of my friends told me that I care too much because I was overly and unnecessarily worried about a friend who had given blood. She said that I worry about people too much even to the point where I’m hurting myself but freak out when they worry about me. I couldn’t really argue with that because in truth it’s exactly how I am.
She told me that I need to be selfish sometimes, to take care of myself and my needs. As soon as she said these words I closed my ears and stopped listening like a stubborn child.
That night when I went to sleep with the conversation still fresh on my mind, I had a dream.
I was working in children’s hospital doing volunteer work. At this time the AIDS epidemic had grown so much that those affected had to wear red patches on their clothes much like the Jewish people during the holocaust. After I had seen to a few patients, giving them blankets, water and care, A woman walked in holding a little girl, about three or four years old. On her shirt was a miniature red patch. I knew immediately what it stood for. The woman, distraught, handed the child to me and I cradled her small form in my arms. She was pale, breathing shallowly, and coughing. Her clothes were torn and ragged so I knew she was poor and couldn’t afford the medicine. I couldn’t save the child. I couldn’t even help her mother. The doctor walked in and someone took the child from me. They told me to leave the room but as I was leaving I saw a syringe heading towards the Childs arm. I turned away just in time but I still heard the mother cry.
They killed the infected, dying child and I couldn’t help. I couldn’t help. There wasn’t a thing in the world I could have done.
It was so real. I really felt like I was there. When I woke up in the morning I felt terrible. It hit me that I couldn’t change the fate of the child in my dream. She died. And I couldn’t help.
I am not a selfless individual by any means but I do realize that I sometimes put too much emphasis on others thoughts and feelings and Ignore my own. Even now as I think of the dream, it still strikes me as something I could have fixed. Even though it was a fictional situation, I have it in my heart that I could have helped. This is where I know my caring goes too far. I spent an entire day worrying about this, something not even real.
I do believe there is a limit to caring to people. There has to be a point when it goes back to God. When it is no longer something I can affect. This is hard for me to accept. I want to so much but it is truly hard for me.
I am a nurturer; I have a pathological need to care for everyone around me. I want to make sure the people around me are okay. I want to keep them safe, but there has to come a point when I realize that I can’t keep it up. I have constantly put the needs and want of others before my own which, I have realized, it is okay to do sometimes but It can get out of hand.
I know that I must change the way I’ve been living. Looking at my situation from a different point of view I know that it is unhealthy. I know that I am a good person but I also need to be worrying about my personal health.