Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.
In yesterday’s post I discussed how hard it is for some, especially men, to admit that they need help and to ask for it. Today let’s look at a simple little sentence that seems is equally hard for many, if not most. Can I help? It probably is used in sentence contexts of more than three words, like “Can I help you?” or “Can I help with that?”, but they all start the same way, with a conscious effort t reach out and offer your help.
That sounds so easy to say, much easier than the sentence “I need help”; however, offering your help, volunteering or rushing to someone’s aid in a time of need is something that we all hesitate on to some degree. We see stories on the news all the time about local “heroes” who run into burning buildings to rescue someone or pull people from burning cars at an accident scene. One thing that is fairly common when they are interviewed afterwards is the statement, “I didn’t even think about it I just acted.” That’s sort of the nature of emergency situations and how we as humans react to them.
But what about all of those times when it isn’t an emergency, it isn’t a burning building or a car crash; maybe it’s just seeing someone with a flat tire along the highway or seeing an older person having trouble getting across the street or loading her car at the grocery store. We’re actually pretty good about those things, too; but all too often we are too busy, in too big of a hurry and we avert our eyes or turn away.
Now, take the case of the neighbor that you see crying on her front porch or the fellow office worker that you see has had too much to drink at the office party. What then? Or how about the call from the church asking if you can visit some shut-in congregation members or maybe asking if you can drive to deliver Easter Baskets of food to several needy families. Is it getting tougher to say yes to those situations?
How about that co-worker that just got the layoff notice, the woman next door who seems to always have a bruise on her face or the neighbor who just lost his wife to cancer. Can you help them? Of course you can, but will you. After all you’ve got a life, too; and, you have things to do. You have work and golf on the weekends and kids games to go to and on and on. You just don’t have time, do you? Or do you and you just don’t want to take the time to offer that help?
“Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help. This week reach to someone that might need a lift” ― Pablo
You may not know what you can do to help. Don’t worry; just being there for that person is a great start. Being a good listener is probably the best way to help initially and you can go from there. Obviously there is only so much that you have the skills to help with, but maybe you are there for the purpose of helping that person seek the professional counseling that they need. Don’t try to be a psychologist yourself, but try to get that person to see one if things are really that bad. Sometimes just letting them talk things out is all that they needed; but sometimes they need that final push to seek more help than you can give them – perhaps a shelter for battered women or a professional grief counselor. Take their hand and lead them to that help.
“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.” ― Charles de Lint
All of us can do our little bit to help.
Maybe it gets down to a choice that you make because you “don’t want to get involved.” I would submit that you’re already involved. You are a fellow human being and one of the things that defines us as humans is our ability to have compassion for others.
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. – Thomas Merton
So you see that you are already involved, you just haven’t committed to play your role in things yet.
If all of the above is not enough to convince you to reach out and help someone, then do it for yourself; to bring purpose to your life. I discussed the end game in life in the 11th post of my Eleven Hints for Life series.
When you get to the end, the things that you will remember and bring that smile to your face are the times that you didn’t turn your back on the opportunity to help someone, the times that you weren’t too busy to reach out; the times that you made a difference in someone’s life just by being there and offering to help. Some of those you’ve helped will probably show up at your funeral and some may even know that they are there because you stopped to help. You’ll know, too!
“It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” ― Leo Buscaglia
Can you help? Yes, you can.