I know both those feelings all too well. For each of us who spend three days practicing our request for assistance speech before we make a phone call, send an email or shoot a text – let me just say – BREATHE! I believe with every fiber of my being that this too shall pass. What you had to seek in help, you will be able to give in double and triple blessings! I often wonder what happened to the season of help that was once so common in our lives. When you could run next door to Miss Sadie and borrow a cup of sugar and really not have to worry about taking it back. When you sent Mr. John a plate of Sunday dinner because you knew his lights were off, but he didn’t want to tell anybody. When you combed the hair of the little girl next door because you knew her dad, recently widowed, hadn’t learned how t o do it yet. You took all of the kids in the neighborhood to the movies, to the park or wherever – just because. What happened to us gathering $5 here, $10 there to put in an envelope for the single mother down the street who couldn’t pay her water bill? One person got the ball rolling when they noticed the kids putting water in buckets from a neighbor’s water hose. Whatever happened to simply helping because there was a need and because you had the wherewithal (even if it meant you only ate one piece of chicken one night) to do so; without dogging people out in the process?
In the course of being on that “needing help” side, perhaps you’ve been like me – confused and overwhelmed by the unfriendliness of people you believe would always be there. You find yourself having heart to heart chats with God, the universe, your dog and Dr. Phil about what you could have possibly put out in your life to warrant the attitudes, demeanor and downright mean remarks you get from some when you say – I need help. I got the boot to the jaw one day when I asked for a ride to a medical office to undergo some lab tests. OOOOO-WEEEEEE; did I get it. As opposed to a simple no; or, I can’t, or I don’t want to; I got a full diatribe about what is wrong with me. I sat quietly and took it all in. I have come to learn that with some folks, the first time you ask and receive help from them you give them permission (though not intentionally) to offer criticism and judgment about your thang! This was one of those folks. I sat quietly and took it all in. When she was done, I simply said, “Okay, thanks. Talk to you later. Bye.” I hung up the phone. Twenty seconds later I got a call back to tell me I was not only sarcastic but rude in my response. “Okay, thanks. Talk to you later. Bye.” I don’t hear it – but hey – I can be a bit sarcastic, so maybe.
I was upset, not that the answer was no, but that the response revealed some things that she’s been holding onto about me. Those things: that she does not like where I am in my life; I am a bit picky about how I get around and she doesn’t think I am in a proper place spiritually to walk into my vision and further she feels my belief in that is an excuse to ask for help and not get a real job. I was upset because I would have preferred that she (and actually that anyone who knows me that feels that way) said those things in love and not at a time of need. Can’t we simply help someone without assessing and judging what they are called to do, based on our predisposition about them? We’ve probably all been guilty of it to some degree. Still, I think we could do so much more for ourselves and others if we did like the Evans family of Good Times fame did for their neighbor Wanda – host a rent party to keep her from being evicted. Instead, we gossip about why they are being put out and tell each other how they begged for the police to give them a little more time. But by the grace of God it was not you – that time. What a wonderful thing we teach our children, when we teach them to help when you can, how you can! Don’t get me wrong; I have been crazy blessed with help from the kind heart of many – often in ways that brought me to tears. I am grateful.
My task, thanks to a son, who will help and give simply because that’s him – is to let him do it. My challenge is to look for ways to do what he does continually even if it may momentarily inconvenience me; for he does innocently and purely just what the Bible says to – give and be concerned. What about you? I challenge you to pen a CREDO OF ASSISTANCE. What will be your vision and your mission to help someone? What encouragement, instead of admonishment, can you offer them? How can you show your compassion to another without judgment clouding your heart? Believe it or not, I (and probably you too) still, get by with a little help from my friend.
Word Stylist E. Claudette Freeman is an award-winning playwright and novelist. As the creative force behind E. Claudette Freeman Literary Services she works with aspiring authors in a coaching, editing and ghostwriting capacity; while facilitating literary empowerment workshops in different venues across the country. She is the author of the novels Sheltered Deliverance (available on Kindle and Nook) and When I Danced with God (in progress); and the journals: The Morning Hour, Fabulous You Power Nuggets and If I Write It, It Can Heal. Visit her website at: www.ecfliterarylearningcenter.com.