Arriving home from work there is an email from an old friend. We used to work together, years ago, and talk maybe two or three times a year. The tone of the email was a little different, saying that she'd lost my phone number but would like to talk to me right away. I am a castastrophizer - why have a little worry when a big one will do? The urgency communicated emergency and I quickly picked up the phone to call.
Luckily she was in. We talked a bit, I tried to keep the beating of my heart out of my ears so I could hear. There was nothing in her tone of voice that said something was wrong. And I was not, WAS NOT, going to tell her that I'd gone into a panic when I'd received her note. She's always had a biting wit and she's always mocked me for my tendancy to go from 0 to 100 with anxiety. I'm on pills for that now - she doesn't know that either.
After catching up I asked, nonchalantly, why the urgent tone in the note.
"Oh, that, I knew that would get you, it's no big deal except I know that you go away for a month every year at this time and I just wanted to get to you before you went away."
"OK, you wanted to chat?"
"No, no," there's someone else here who wants to talk to you.
Suddenly, David was on the phone saying 'Hi'. This is a guy who I worked with years and years ago, during my time working with him, I had helped organize his IPP meetings and did the 'what are your hopes and dreams' converstations with him. David was such a reasonable guy, he wanted very little and was happy with less. He would set goals that benefitted others for heaven's sake. A finely made soul lived in David. But, all in all, I wasn't sure why he was calling.
"How are you David?"
"Wait," he said, a hushed tone in his voice and I could hear pages rustle. What was he up to ...
His voice returned, stilted, "'Great. Just great!' Resting in bed, Peter was angry ..."
"Oh my God, David, oh my God!!" I started to cry.
"He wasn't quite sure who he should be angry at."
One of David's big goals for himself was that he would learn to read. He had been in a couple literacy programmes and just didn't manage to pick up even basic skills. He was never downcast about it, always figuring there would be a next time. When my book 'Four Feet Tall' came out, I knew it would be a story that David would like so I dropped by and gave him a signed copy. He told me he would learn to read it one day.
After celebrating with David on the phone, having him promise to talk to me again when he'd finished the book, I was put back to the staff who'd called me in the first place. I could tell she'd been crying too. She told me that one of the part timers at the house was a university student studying economics. Well that student had a friend in Education who, upon hearing David's desire to read, volunteered to do individual tutoring.
All those years ago David set a goal that only he believed in.
Today David acheived a goal that only he could.