How easily we can all see ourselves in a situation where someone asks if we need help, we are socialized and habituated in such a way that says, “No thanks, I’m fine,” is like flying on auto-pilot. Being down on one’s luck in material terms is easy – it’s obvious someone needs help, but then the need is for emotional support, connection, validation and understanding – that’s a deep hole of another kind, far tougher to fill with a voucher or hamper – and when help is offered, it’s far tougher to accept, because we don’t get trained for that, we don’t get educated for that … either the giving or the receiving.
Some events stand out – life-changing, life-saving, beyond expectation and leaving an unexpected and unfathomable impression that lasts, that restores …
Someone helped me in such a fashion. When I was feeling down, as low as I can recall, someone reached out to help me. Not friend, not colleague, not family, not faux friend, not quid-pro-quo, not anything anyone would, or should, expect. Still, their help came. The impact was immediate, authentic, and palpable.
At this time of year, we who have plenty need to pause, to recognize the needs of others often go well beyond food, clothing and shelter – and at this typically festive time of year, more important than ever.
Just as it is unspeakably hard to ask for help, it is not easy to receive it. Methinks many people don’t cry out for help, not because they don’t need it, but because of the challenge in accepting help when support is offered.
My plea to you, to anyone who reads this – don’t think of this in the context of the holiday season in isolation because it’s an everyday problem.
The person who needs a lift most, the one who needs our help most, might be the least likely or least expected to need help. A helping hand goes a long way, and even when we help someone who might not need it, there is no harm in that.
Especially at this time of year, we read many stories of good Samaritan types helping others. But we also read horrible statistics about depression, drug addiction, and deaths. This is not to say those many thousands will be saved if we all do something about it – but they surely won’t if we do nothing.