Be Wary of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing!

October 23, 2013

It’s flattering when someone approaches you with friendship. Everyone wants to feel cared for, wanted, and desired, even if it’s as a friend. So when someone new comes into your life with whom you get along and you feel there’s friend potential, it’s natural to brighten at the prospect. But not all friend requests are given without ulterior motives – thus, remember the old adage of

“Be wary of wolves in sheep’s clothing!”


Look closely at friend requests however, since in some cases there’s a hidden agenda. Sometimes, what is offered in friendship comes with a steep price tag – in other words, it’s not offered without strings attached as one would prefer. Growing up, I always tried to make friends with anyone that offered an outstretched hand and in some cases I got burned. You would think that such experience would have made me more cautious, but I guess the desire to have more friends gets the better of me. I do have good judgment in most things; it’s just sometimes I give people too much credit for always doing what I would do – which is the right thing.

Even in the face of adversity, I still say that there is always a reason that people meet; there are always life lessons to be learned and perhaps even more so when challenges are present. So here’s my latest tale of betrayal.

When a new “friend” that I had met at a retreat several months prior called indicating her desire to attend a spiritual conference, she presented the situation as if she couldn’t do it alone. She asked if she could fly into the airport near my home, drive down to the program with me as well as share a room while there. As we’d have to leave first thing in the morning, this arrangement meant that she’d have to fly in the day before, stay at my house and do the reverse on the way home. Thinking that I was establishing a new, budding relationship that had international travel potential, I readily agreed. So I opened my home to her which meant extra cleaning, making dinner, and helping her prepare food to take for the 4 days we would be in attendance. Since I was taking food so as not to have to eat all my meals out, I felt like this was the right thing to do. And, at least initially, she seemed to respect and appreciate my nurturing nature. That is, until we arrived at the hotel after the 4-hour drive, during which was partially in torrents of rain.

As we got out of the car at the hotel, her personality shifted. It was as if she changed from a kind person into a creature that I didn’t know. She began to push back at whatever I tried to do; suddenly I was “pushy”, “impatient”, etc. when I tried to leave the room to drive to the program allowing enough time to park. Although there was a shuttle that could take her from the hotel to the program eight blocks down the street, she insisted upon driving with me, but making me wait on her. Being a life coach was of great help in keeping my cool as I felt like throwing her out the window into the pouring rain. I felt that I had to maintain my sanity as we had 4 days together and this was just the beginning. And so it went. No matter what we were doing, she pushed back which served to distance me as much as possible during the day while at the program. But at night, we were in the room together. She didn’t like the A/C, so insisted upon leaving the sliding door open which made the room warm and quite stuffy making my sleep difficult.

By the fourth day, I was ready to leave her there, but I knew that the universe had put her in my path for a reason; however, I was having trouble figuring out the reason. Then it came to me. There is such a thing as doing too much for someone so that they just don’t appreciate it. There is also being too nice. Apparently, I was just a convenience to her.  I drove and she was sharing with me. I could have told her off, but it would have made out time together even worse. There is no doubt she’s a very needy person who has to be around people who mirror how wonderful she is and when I wasn’t doing that, she became moody. By Sunday, I was sending out energy of “make one false move and I will leave you here”. She got up early, dressed without incident and we were ready to leave by 8 AM without my saying one word to her. I guess she figured if she wanted a ride back with me she had to go back to behaving.

The 4-hour drive home was done in total silence through a tropical storm. It’s true that I had to concentrate but it was also true that I didn’t have words for her either. We finally got back to my house and we both stayed in our respective rooms for the day. I didn’t feel obligated to entertain her. I was really tired after not sleeping for days. When I mentioned that I couldn’t go to exercise in the morning due to when I had to go to the airport to take her, she opted to take a taxi.

I can’t tell you how relieved I was when she was finally gone. I cleaned for several days to get her energy out of the house. I also had to change and wash the sheets from the guest room. Although she did thank me as she left, I’ve not gotten a note – but that doesn’t surprise me. All in all, this experience has been a huge lesson. When I do travel, I will not have a roommate. Also, I will be more discerning who I welcome as a friend. Now I will remember the wolves in sheep’s clothing!




Hospice – Being of Service

October 1, 2013

Last month I took training for Hospice. It wasn’t easy; even during the sessions I felt emotional as the instructor described the possible scenarios we might encounter in working with those predicted to have only 6 months to live.

ImageNext came the time to select my first client patient. The Volunteer Coordinator sent out a number of emails with possible hospice patient selections. I picked one that was in a reasonable geographic location: and a day that I was available. After preparing myself by making sure I had the necessary paperwork with me, the emergency phone numbers of the hospice organization, and review of this particular client patient’s information, I left home with some in trepidation.
Having arrived, I settled in with my first hospice assignment.

The gentleman had dementia and seemed to feel chatty, in that he wanted to share stories from many time periods in his lifetime. Several stories in particular are worth noting. He seemed to be giving me an overview of his life telling me about how he met his wife, about his children, and some other stories from his childhood. I mentioned that I had a cat in passing just to have a subject to talk. He then decided to tell me about cats that his father had when he was a young man. Unfortunately, his father decided that the 12 cats he had at the time were too numerous and asked his son (this man) to dispose of some. My patient then described in great detail how he took these poor little creatures, put them in a bag, and drowned them in the family pond! I realized that it may have been a painful memory for him; perhaps something that he regretted but he didn’t describe it that way.

It was extremely difficult for me to sit there and listen to the story when I wanted to scream running out of the room in horror thinking of my dear little cat that I love so much in any possible harm coming to him. I love my little rescue guy so much – he’s like a child to me. The emotions that I feel for my little cat were brought up when this patient told me the story from his childhood.
We were taught not to react to anything that the patient says so I had to squash my feelings and just sit there as if he was reading the paper or reciting a shopping list. I had to keep reminding myself of my higher purpose for being there; that I was helping his wife take a break in her caregiving which had been constant for many months. By definition, the doctors had said he was within 6 months of the end of his life. He didn’t seem that frail to me, but then how would I know.

Anyway, I did my best to keep him company and to talk to him as I was there for 3 hours. Eventually I let him rest while I went back to my book. This was how it went for my first hospice visit. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy visit, nor was it a comfortable experience. That said, it was a blessing for him and for his wife that I was there to assist.

So being of service by volunteering for hospice is not an easy thing to do. It is definitely a higher calling and one that must be carefully thought out before an individual goes down this path. There are great challenges in doing this kind of work. In the end, my first patient taught me that I had done the right thing and that I was moving forward on my soul path since when there is a challenge we challenge ourselves to move forward spiritually.

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