FEELING BAD ABOUT disliking GOOD PEOPLE
That said, she is in many ways a remarkable person. She lives in Third World countries caring for the infirm and impoverished, yet it doesn’t seem to fulfill her. In my opinion, Helen – like many who dedicate their lives to helping others – have an easier time providing for strangers than finding contentment for themselves.
I don’t mean to be too hard on her. She is a good person doing good things. But she drives me nuts.
I would guess she’s not the president of my fan club, either. We’re not really pals. We just occasionally are thrown together due to a mutual friend. My friend Craig is an accepting, nonjudgmental person who looks for the good in people and accepts their human frailties. I’m not like that at all.
Both he and Helen are in the health-care business and spend much of their time caring for children in impoverished countries. Craig recently returned from Central America where he, Helen and one or two others traveled into the heart of the jungle to bring health care to those who would otherwise never see a real doctor. I can only guess how many lives were saved and how much suffering was prevented.
While the rest of the group returned stateside, Helen remained in South America to training Peace Corps volunteers.
Watching the slide show documenting the trip, I was struck by the magnificence and selflessness of their giving. The inspiring images of Helen caring and educating the poverty-stricken natives tempered my long-held nasty attitude toward her.
There was one picture that made me feel particularly guilty. Standing in the middle of a mud-floored grass hut, Helen was holding a newborn baby who was just delivered in a difficult birth. The beautiful brown child, with its shock of black hair sticking out of the simple blanket, looked like a fur-covered nut. Gone were the usual pursed lips and lines of tension on Helen’s face. In their place was a beaming smile of pride and relief. It might have been the sun coming through the thin walls behind her, but she seemed to glow. If she and my friend had not been in that village on that particular day, the mother and child’s fate might have been much different.
“Let’s send this picture to Helen’s dad. He hasn’t seen her in over a year,” Craig said.
Helen’s father is some kind of Uber-businessman who travels the world making deals and millions. Helen worships the ground he flies over.
After several failed attempts to download the digital picture into Craig’s computer, we decided to try mine. I enclosed a letter telling her father that I was a friend of a friend of his daughter and was asked to forward the picture of Helen and the baby. I wrote briefly about the situation of the childbirth and what a wonderful impression the photograph made on me. I left out the part about how I’ve long considered his daughter a prophet of petulant doom.
Three days later I received a response from Helen’s father. He thanked me for the picture and said it caught up with him in Tokyo. There was no mention of the joy on the face of his glowing daughter. He said nothing in regards to the beautiful baby or the two lives that she helped save. What he did write to me, a perfect stranger, was “Looks like we will need to get Helen a dental appointment for teeth cleaning when she is with us over Christmas!”
I read and reread his response hoping I misunderstood his words. There was little room for interpretation. No one can mess you up like your parents. Why is it that we often treat those who we should love the most with the least amount of compassion?
I can now be much more forgiving of Helen. What I once perceived as faults I now see to be scars.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of “Biff America” can be seen on RSN television, heard on KYSL radio, and read in several mountain publications. He lives in Breckenridge.