Emergency Contacts

I just got off the phone with one of my Emergency Contacts.

Now, before you call the hospital to try and find the room I’m in, let me explain. You know about having to fill out Emergency Contacts for employers, for doctors, for kids when they go to school, go to camp, sign up for sports, you name it. No matter what, we have to make sure there’s someone else to call so that if something bad happens, there’s somebody to back us up and make sure things are OK.

I don’t say this lightly, but honestly, I hate picking Emergency Contacts. I mean, I know people, but asking them to be responsible for you or your kids if the need arises is a big step. That’s like hanging a big “Hi, I’m Needy” sign around your neck. Especially if they have friends and family and don’t necessarily need you or your phone number on their paperwork.

But my personal Emergency Contacts are a different story. Those are the people I turn to when I need guidance, reassurance, strength and support. I don’t need them to live around town. I don’t need them to pick up the kids (although some of them would in a heartbeat). I just need somebody to listen for a while.

Tonight, I hit a rough spot. I needed to do some serious thinking. And sitting on the couch watching a movie on TV to distract myself was not what I needed. I leashed up the dogs, grabbed my cell phone, and set to dialing as I went out the door.

Now, it’s one thing to need someone  to talk to. It’s another thing entirely to set out at 10:45 and expect somebody else to be on the other end of the line. So I called up Emergency Contact #1. Voice mail. Hmm, I thought. Maybe this really isn’t worth bothering somebody about. Or maybe it is. Emergency Contact #2. Voice mail. I scrolled down the list of contacts. Already asleep…not the right person to talk to…hasn’t heard from me in too long…

I paused before dialing Emergency Contact #3. She’s in a different time zone. Would she actually still be up? Mad for calling so late? Figured her sage advice would still be a balm. Moot point. Voice mail.

I called Emergency Contact #1 again, thinking maybe she wasn’t by her phone before. May as well try. Voice mail.

I scrolled down and found another contact. Mid-dial, I stopped.

What was I doing? Why was I calling? What did I want?

I’ll tell you. I wanted strength. I wanted answers. I wanted to feel right.

And then it hit me. At that moment, maybe I didn’t need strength and reassurance to come from someone else. As a matter of fact, I happen to have an incredible reserve of strength within me. As a matter of fact, when I reason things through, I can come up with a decision that makes sense and feels right. So before I could dial Emergency Contact #4, I stuck the phone in my pocket and did some hard thinking.

I got home a short while later and got a call from Emergency Contact #1. She listened as I aired out my problems, as I told her what was going on and what my plan was. I also told her about my attempts to dial my Emergency Contacts and my subsequent decision to just listen to myself. She reminded me that while strength, answers and reassurance DO come from within, it’s also helpful sometimes to hear it from someone else.

Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. Even if I can get through some things alone, it’s nice to know that others are out there, helping me out whether or not I’m willing to admit I need it. For when something bad happens and I need someone to back me up and make sure I’m OK.

And if you need to use me on your camp form, I’m open.

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4 Responses to “Emergency Contacts”

  1. Jules Says:

    Maybe it’s just knowing that those emergency contacts are there. That you can call at any time and be given an ear or whatever else is needed. Or, you could just rely on copious amounts of alcohol. Could go either way.

  2. Mara Says:

    You can add me as Emergency Contact #5 🙂

  3. sbb Says:

    put me on the list!! I’m there for ya — any day, any time

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