Story 4: Can I Help?

How can I help when I know someone is hurting? How do I help when my own sanity may be at stake? Do I let you hurt and walk away? Or do I take the risk and extend a hand, lend a shoulder or just open my heart when I know another is in pain.

I remember when this happened to me in the past. I couldn’t see my friend’s sadness. I couldn’t diagnose her depression. I so wish that I had.

If I had, maybe I could have helped her avoid a tragic event. Maybe I could have saved a life.

But when I did react, when I did respond, I responded with a level of loyalty and thoughtfulness that I didn’t know I had. I got involved. I offered help. I stuck with her through and through.

It’s amazing what we will and will not do for each other. It’s interesting to see just how far we think commitment to others should go. We ask ourselves if we should save ourselves before we help others. It shouldn’t even be a question. We should just automatically and instinctively act. But we don’t.

We don’t because we’ve been hurt before, played the fool before, been embarrassed before – and we’ll be damned if it happens again. We don’t because we don’t think we can handle it, whatever “it” might be. We’re not strong enough, knowledgeable enough. Or we don’t because we say it’s not my problem? It’s not my place or duty to get involved.

But I say it is our place, it is our duty, we must get involved.

We must show love and give love not just because we want it in return but because that is just the nature of humanity. Even when it’s hard to love, that is still the answer.

To love does not mean we let others run over us or play us for fools. But it does mean that we show compassion, empathy and caring. What good is it to be in the world and see people hurting, have the ability to help and walk on by. It just seems ludicrous. We wouldn’t want that for ourselves or our loved ones. We all know that sometimes things just don’t work out for all people. So why wouldn’t we help each other?

If you are human and you find yourself in the position to help someone and you don’t, it will haunt you. You will think about what you could have done. You will assume the same will happen to you. You will have an unhappy life.

But if you do help and even if it doesn’t go your way, you’ll feel better about yourself. You will say that at least I tried, and the rest is on the other person. You’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror.

Now I know that’s not true for everyone. Some folks really don’t care for others no matter what. But I would submit that they are not as happy as they could be. They are not as satisfied as they may let on.

Even those unfeeling people, who are protecting their own hearts, wish that they lived in a world where people cared about each other. They are prisoners of the world they have created for themselves.

I’ve lived a while and I choose to help others, to look out for my friends, to even put someone else’s well-being before my own. I don’t make a big deal about any of this. Most of what I do is secret. I don’t care to hear other people tell me who I should help and who I shouldn’t. I don’t care to be judged for good or bad by others.

It’s taken many years, but I’ve learned this is the way I want to live. This is what works for me. Yes I can. I can help.

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