Talking to disabled people doesn’t bring me joy

Before you drop out, please bring it to prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. What does God want you to do here?

No one like being bored, but sometimes acts of charity for other people aren’t going to be mind-bending thrill rides. That’s okay. Not everything in life has to be entertaining.

As others have noted, it is good to discern the purpose of these events. Being in an echo chamber of complaining is not ideal for anyone (you or them). But having an able-bodied person spend some time listening to them could very well be an act of service by itself.

It might be true that God is calling you to serve somewhere else and that this is just not a good fit for you. God doesn’t want us serving others from a place that is wholly outside our skill set all the time. But on the other hand, God also desires us to stretch and go outside of our comfort zone at times. Someone like Mother Teresa didn’t embrace the poor and the dying because it was exciting. She did it because she saw Christ in other people.

If you’ve already offered some type of commitment, I would at least give it due time and take it to prayer before abandoning ship.

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Speaking as a “handicapped” person (it is preferred to speak about “persons with disabilities” BTW), please, if you see joining this group as some sort of thing you have to force, do not go any more.

We are discriminated against every single day, we do not need it coming from inside a church support group.

Everyone there is a person, and you find them boring because they are disabled, that says it all. Respect, understanding of dignity, that we need. Pity and aloofness, we get plenty of that already.

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Could it be that subconsciously, you’re uncomfortable being around the handicapped? And therefore, you feel you have nothing of worth to contribute?

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If he saw this it is likely the people you were talking to did as well. It’s very obvious when people are just phoning it in especially when you are used to people treating you this way. It’s not fair to the participants.

You are right to reconsider your participation.

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Just say, I have tried your group, but feel more drawn towards supporting the homeless.

Just a thought, people with disabilities often struggle to do the things we take for granted. Maybe meet up with one of them to support them with some part of their day to day life. This would meet a social and practical need at the same time.

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I guess I would say that if you’re good at it, then see it as something you make an effort to do for the sake of others and not because you enjoy it so much yourself.

If you’re not good at it, though, well, we aren’t all good at everything. If there are too few to do it, such that anyone who can listen even marginally well is needed, try to marshal the energy to do it once in awhile. If there are enough with the gift to do it, though, those who don’t have that gift really ought to feel free to do what they do have the gifts to do.

I’d also say that if it puts an undue strain on your capacity to do other things you ought to do, consider that you don’t have the resources to do it. I wouldn’t say that volunteers should only volunteer for things they find “rewarding” rather than looking for what needs to be done and doing it whether it is “their thing” or not, but there is such a thing as a volunteer job that is a bad fit for you. I’m guessing you won’t have trouble keeping yourself busy with things that need to be done or are begging for willing volunteers that suit your capacities better.

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Thanks for the comment. Yesterday, I prayed for guidance. After one day, I still think about dropping out. The person who invited me may dislike me now because I still am not any more friendly to him than before attending the first gathering. I actually recently avoided him in Church. He might expect me to talk to him more, but he has speech problem and I have hard time understanding what he is saying. So, put it shortly, it may get worse with other people as well. So I will stop. I told him via an instant messenger that watching a movie or going out on a picnic with everyone and then having a tea time together will be nice. Because, I said to him, the gathering may be too difficult for non-disabled people or non-welfare workers. He saw my message, but one day later I still got no response at all. Anyway, I am troubled about the whole thing now. So, may be I will quit.

Thanks for your honest comment. I think I am dropping out. I thought people wouldn’t want to see me not enjoying. But the gatherings let me know many things about the persons with disabilities. So I am very thankful for the opportunity. I hope the person who invited me would still at least greet me in Church on Sundays.

I was actually uncomfortable. One reason is I wanted to be friendly with them, but I could not talk to them well. The person who invited me, for instance, could not talk well because of his disability. Also, I could not find a common topic to talk.

I have been visiting homeless people for 10 years now. I would provide material help, but always the interaction ended in a few to several minutes. Homeless people were happy for my help. I am happy that they looked so. I think I am not good at listening and talking in a volunteer. So may be joining in the gathering for the persons with disabilities is not suitable for me to do volunteer.

Thanks for the comment. I work hard on week days. Sunday is often the church and family service day. The gathering is often on Saturdays and holidays. While I attend the gathering, I cannot do my other things planned on Saturday. But I thought I could sacrifice them because I felt like this volunteer was a good thing. But I think the gathering now is bringing me worries. So I think I am dropping out.

I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it. You gave it a fair try, and lots of projects need volunteers.

I also wouldn’t worry too much about a person who distances himself from you because it doesn’t turn out that you have the same friends. If he only wants to have friends who belong to that circle, OK, he can do that. That isn’t you marginalizing him. That’s him choosing who to be close friends with, which is OK. He may have been exceptionally warm to you in the hopes that you’d build a friendship around the same group of people; that didn’t happen. The experience gave you some appreciation for how to make other events you are associated with welcoming for a segment of the Church that can feel left out, so it isn’t as if nothing was gained from your prospective. Let him be warmer to people he’s closer to, if he wants, and try not to take it personally.

If you have a regular work schedule to fit your volunteer time around, maybe try the Knights of Columbus next time. I know lots of men who made good friends in the Knights, and they do tend to plan their scheduling around the realities of being a breadwinner. In general, though, just keep trying.

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Thanks for letting me know about Knights of Columbus. I will check. I sent a short message to the person and told him that I was having a hard time in the gathering because the many of the conversation threads were about the disability and welfare stuff. I also told him we could watch a fun movie or go out together then have a discussion about them so that more people from outside could easily join in the conversation and warm up friendship. After about a week, I have no response from him. I wonder if he didn’t like my comment or that at some point disliked me. Anyway, I decided I am dropping out. I will use my energy and time for other things.

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I became acquainted with a man about 7 years younger than me who suffers from the effects of a brain injury. He was blinded by the brain injury. He can walk by himself but only very carefully. Also, his speech is slurred which very often makes others think he is intoxicated.

I moved away from him and left abruptly. Then years later, I reunited with him by phone (I am in a different state). So, our conversation usually revolves around his difficulty with public transportation. He also has difficulty with social workers. He’s landed in an apartment which is infested with roaches, bed bugs, and some vermin that he can’t identify.

He is fiercely independent, not wanting to be placed in any sort of setting like a nursing home where he would feel trapped by rules, on the one hand, and surrounded by unfamiliar people, on the other hand. I’ve even suggested that he move near me, into public housing – but that is not “on his radar screen.” He is waiting for an opening in public housing in Chicago, where it turns out, the waiting list is like ten to twenty years.

I pray for him, for his spiritual and psychological needs, and especially for his materials needs, for a safe ans sanitary place to live. So, what else can I do for him? I buy gift cards from Wal-mart where he shops and I send them to him, so he has some extra money which, as he says, “comes in handy.”

And, we call each other from time to time and talk about the same old things. My phone keeps track of elapsed time, so I usually listen to him for about an hour. I really can only understand about 2/3 of what he says. I know he is truly needy so I have no reservation about sending him money on such a gift card. His apartment neighbors don’t help him whatsoever, nor does his family, as far as I can tell.

I have long been impressed by the gospel story about the man born blind. People ask Jesus if his blindness was a result of that man’s sin or his parents’ sin. Jesus said, it was so that the works of God could be revealed in him. I can understand not wanting to go to a long and boring get-together, but I think we should always be on the lookout for opportunities to help others.

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As a Christian, no matter where you are or what you do in life, it is not about what you get out of it.

It is about what you put into it and what others get out of it.

That’s love.

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Thanks for your comment. Your comment is encouraging. I think you are very nice. I don’t think I can be a good listener like you, because I always have trouble listening when the topic is not related to my experience or something I am interested in. I see that as my weakness and thus I think I have fewer friends than average. Sending him a gift card sounds also great. I am better at visiting the homeless people because I can give material help and can leave after seeing each other in the eyes or a short conversation. I guess I am not good at volunteer works that require good listening. Do you do this nice help with several people?

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