Realise that’s pretty much how my attitude has been over the past… I don’t even remember when this started.
Earlier on, it was about devising ways to get people to respond as I realised that people just don’t bother. Think about RSVP-ing, submitting things they were supposed to, arriving at a time that was agreed upon… Whenever I take on the role of an event organiser, these are some of the scenarios that will play out in my mind and I’ll just be thinking about how to make them respond the way I need them to in order to help with the planning process. Like, how do I ensure that people show up at an event so that the catered food don’t go wasted, how do I ensure that those who are late don’t miss out on important parts of the programme while honouring the time of those who arrive early, etc. Clearly, the trust that says “they will do what they are expected to” has eroded.
There was once I excitedly planned for an event. Halfway through, the responses that came in made me feel as though I was trying to get a bunch of uninterested people together. That was discouraging. In the end I got angry, gave up the planning, let whoever still wanted it take over and I threw a tantrum by letting the person who took over know that I would not turn up for it. And I didn’t. If I didn’t remember wrongly, that was the last time I excitedly organised something in a bigger group setting and expected people to turn up. That wasn’t a mature way of handling that, I admit, and it seemed to have changed the way I value group gatherings in ways that I wasn’t completely aware of.
These attitudes towards the way I relate with people persist even till this day. I still have my backup plans for people who are late/don’t turn up at the last minute, and sometimes I will tell my co-organiser that honestly, I don’t think it’s going to turn out as expected. Lately, it’s been like that as well, especially as I see some of my friends are also struggling in dealing with some of these disappointments and feeling burnt out as they serve people. I sense a lack of motivation in me when it comes to gathering people and coordinating their schedules. Sometimes I’d feel that I would really appreciate it and life would be much easier if someone could just help me with coordinating schedules, because I am just so tired of what feels like begging people for their responses. I’d rather organise things in an informal setting, making it such that if the rest are willing to come then come along but if not, I’m really not going to try too hard. I will just arrange my time with the one who’s really interested in doing that same thing, and if the rest cannot make it then so be it.
And I decided to write about this because a friend just asked me a moment ago, “ARE YOU EXCITED”, and I find myself unable to say yes to that. I do think that it’s great she is excited about those plans, but I also can’t help to feel that reality might just end up in disappointment. I hesitated between sharing with her about how I honestly feel towards those plans – not hopeful – and encouraging her to carry out her plans.
As I hesitated, it just struck me that there’s something wrong with my heart attitude. It’s like this heart has grown cold towards things that are worth rejoicing over – e.g. the excitement of someone in encouraging others to mature in Christ. It’s saying, “ah forget it, I don’t think the rest will be receptive to it.” I guess it’s because my heart has decided that people are “just like that”, and I’m so tired of them being this way.
But hey, is not a good thing worth rejoicing over? Is it not worth me pursuing that goal anymore, even as I see the good in it? Shall I just be fine with people staying the way they are – I mean if I really think that’s how they are like? I am tired and disappointed yes, but I can’t simply let these hinder the progress of what is good.
It then occurred to me that perhaps this is how people experience a burnout in their jobs. Maybe they used to believe in a particular cause, but over time they experience disappointments because things don’t turn out as beautiful as they had hoped to see. Slowly, this mentality of how things are “just like that” seeps in, as if a change in the situation is impossible. Hopes are lost, dreams are lost. They become jaded with their jobs, ending up doing just the bare minimum.
It’s sad, but it happens. Others have told me about how social workers quit after a few years, or that they simply become jaded with their jobs. It’s sad, and I didn’t want to believe that that’s bound to happen to all social workers. I mean look, I have these teachers whom I look up to, and the common thing amongst them that inspires me is their passion to teach and to impart life values. Some did lose their dreams along the way, but these never. Surely there must be a way out of the possible jadedness, right?
I guess so. As of now, I’m still not motivated in coordinating things within groups. But I hope and I pray that God will change this heart of mine. It’s not good, and it can be better than it is now. Breakthrough needed in my heart, to see breakthroughs in lives as well.
Another thought that came to me this evening: If one day I really find no one running this race with me, will I still carry on with that same conviction that I have when I sing “Though my world may fail, I’ll never let You go”? If I will, then whether those in my world responds to things as it would be ideal, will no longer matter in my pursuit of what is good and right. It’s not just about meeting up, but also about running towards any good and right goal. If it is good and right, then it being good and right is sufficient a reason for me to keep on trying.