Do-gooder Done Wrong 1

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

That is what Elphaba, the soon-to-be designated Wicked Witch of the West in the Land of Oz, sings in the musical Wicked when all her efforts to be helpful blow up in her face.

I love that song. It’s become part of my life soundtrack because it seems like the times I try to be the most accommodating are the times I get into the most trouble.

I was once in charge of the Primary children’s program for church. I had chosen the four oldest girls to sing a song together because it was their last program before they moved on to the Young Women organization. I thought it would be a nice last hurrah for them.

During a practice, a mother of a girl just younger than the group asked why I had chosen those particular girls to sing. I explained my reason which she understood, but said that her daughter felt bad that she had never been asked to sing in a special musical number. Naively optimistic, I said her daughter was welcome to join the group and gave her the practice schedule.

After the next practice, one of the moms of the original group stayed after to talk to me. “Why is she singing in the group now?”

“Because she wanted to and I didn’t see any reason why she shouldn’t be included. Is there a problem?”

“My daughter just thought it was more special when it was just the older girls.”

“That was my original plan, but I saw no harm in including her if I could spare hurt feelings.”

“Good luck with that.” She walked away.

When I got home, I got a phone call from another mother of a girl the same age as the one I allowed to join the group. We had never met or talked before, which I quickly realized was a blessing, “What kind of crock are you running? I have a little girl crying her eyes out because she says she’s been excluded from singing in a special number for the program!”

“Uhhh . . .”

“This is why I don’t go to church! Because this kind of crap (PG-rated editing) goes on all the time! You people say you’re Christian, but you’re just a bunch of hypocrites! I was even going to come watch the program this time for my kids, but I’ll be damned if I set foot in that building!”

She laid into me for 20 minutes. I tried to explain, but I couldn’t get a word in between obscenities, accusations and heathen excuses.

When she finally took a breath I jumped in. Though I was ready to say things that were far from Christian, I took the high road and said, “I am sorry your daughter feels left out. She’s welcome to sing with the group if she wants to.”

“I don’t know if she will now. Hell, I don’t know if I’d even let her!”

Hell, I don’t care if you both go there!

“Well, it’s up to you. Nice to meet you. Bye.”

Her daughter was at the next practice.

A practice that lasted thirty minutes generated four hours on the phone afterward with eight different mothers. Mothers of other younger girls had gotten wind that I had extended the invitation even further and wanted to know why I hadn’t invited their daughters as well.

Then the original mothers were upset that I had been a pushover and let the other girls in, and the add-on mothers were mad that I would accommodate the snobby original mothers, and the third tier mothers were torqued that the original mothers and the add-on mothers would be so rude to want to exclude their daughters, and on and on.

When my ear went numb I gave the last word on the subject to everyone, “Last practice tomorrow. Come, don’t come. I’m out.”

When I finally got off the phone, I unplugged it and curled up on my bed and bawled. What happened? How did I get here? All this drama over a song in a church program? Are you kidding me? Mind you, this took place before reality TV popped the lid off petty human behavior.

All the girls came. All the girls sang, but they didn’t talk.

The heathen mother didn’t set foot in the building for the program. I was disappointed. I would have loved to see the walls crumble.

No, good deeds are not for the faint.

Whether you’re a witch or a Christian, if you decide to brave a cause, bring along some flying monkeys.

One comment on “Do-gooder Done Wrong

  1. Reply Stephanie T. Sep 29,2011 11:56 pm

    Amen Sista! For years my husband has volunteered as a soccer coach and soccer administrator. We have weeks where we do more soccer work then the jobs that pay our bills. Yet, if I could have a dollar for everytime a parent said we weren’t doing enough for their kid, I’d be rich. My favorite is the mom whose kid sits on the bench for 5 minutes (out of 90) and she rips my husband’s head off as she says “after all that we have done for this team…”. My kids play the least and we give the most and pay the most (countless scholarships, equipment, etc.) But somehow it’s never enough… Thank goodnes for the people who do notice and appreciate!

Leave a Reply