Don’t Shoot The Messenger

For reasons that are beyond me, and that make no sense to me whatsoever, throughout my entire life I have been a messenger of one kind or another. For whatever reason being outspoken and at least moderately observant and also fairly easy to communicate with has given me the responsibility (which I don’t always see myself as very suited for) to pass messages from one person to another as the situation demands, or to provide people with a picture of what I see, sometimes even without any conscious intention of doing so.

This particular talent of mine of being a suitable messenger is often deeply annoying to me. When I was in high school, I often served as a messenger of notes between some friends and others, largely because I could be trusted to pass along a note without snooping on it. I’m a curious person, to be sure, but someone whose loyalty and sense of duty trumps my nosiness. I suppose this is one quality that has greatly contributed to my desirability as a courier. After all, the reason we trust companies like UPS to ship packages is because we trust them to deliver the packages without looking into them. The same is true for container ships–those who are good at respecting the privacy of others become trusted shippers. Discretion therefore becomes a selling point in logistics.

Just about every day I receive a phone call (often more than one) about business I know nothing about. Today, for example, I received one call about making the Teacher’s House hospitable for a couple of young women who had been in a crash seen by one of the other teachers, though I didn’t quite understand what he was about, I did my best to make them comfortable. Then, just after finishing dinner, before I could even return to the computer, I got a call for one of the farm workers about how the new dog was doing at the farm (which I haven’t seen yet) and whether he has run off into the jungle yet. I then had to hunt down the farmworker to deliver the message, as he was playing soccer in the clinic grounds across the street. Though the content of these calls varies from day to day, the fact that I am an obvious person called to deliver messages does not, and it’s something I often find puzzling. I suppose being a reliable person to answer e-mails and my cell phone gives me an “advantage” in being called about obscure business without having to be given a lot of context.

The fact that so many people so often in my life have been willing to use me as an intermediary for communication suggests that despite the proliferation of means of communication that there are still major gaps in communication between those who have information and those who need to act on it. For whatever reason I’m not the kind of person who is bothered by the formal titles and positions of others and pretty forceful about communicating when things are wrong and need to be dealt with. The fact that this seems to be a near daily experience suggests that I am considered (despite my own inclinations) to be a very suitable messenger and that there is a frequent need among my friends and acquaintances for information to be passed along.

Sadly, like many of my talents (including writing), I haven’t really found a way to profit off of this gift for myself. Sure, my friends and associates profit easily enough by getting their questions and messages through, but all I have gotten out of it is work, and not a lot of reward, and that sort of thing bothers me. I suppose if there were greater respect for such a task, rather than feeling I was being taken advantage of, it would be less bothersome, but so it is.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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3 Responses to Don’t Shoot The Messenger

  1. Ted Keener says:


    Re: Don’t Shoot the Messenger-
    I know somewhat how you feel regarding ‘being used’. I try to just be happy that I do have some place or function in this world & God will work it into advantage in His Kingdom.
    Ted K.

    • That is certainly true, and I have often pondered that myself. But given that I need plenty of practice concerning my own direct communication skills, I find it puzzling that I should get so much practice in an area where I consider myself ill-suited, and that is passing along messages, especially without having enough knowledge to do more than simply pass the message along.

  2. Pingback: Bearer Of Bad News | Edge Induced Cohesion

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