Help is on it’s Way

4 06 2012


I guessed his age to be somewhere in the mid 70s at least, thin built and maybe 5’5” in height at best. He was struggling for all he was worth with the task in front of him; unfortunately, it was obvious to everyone that passed it was more than he was capable of, obvious to everyone except him that is. I was in the front seat of my car for several minutes as he struggled to change the flat tire on his vehicle. On two different occasions people stopped to offer a hand, offers he declined adamantly. He even swung the tire iron in the air in a threatening motion to one fellow when the guy didn’t take the hint to leave him alone; didn’t take the hint that is, up that point. I watched for another minute or so and then headed into the grocery store. My mind was telling me, “He’s stubborn as a mule, but determined, he’ll get it done without any help sooner of later.” My mind might have been saying that, but my heart was overruling that thought. I knew he would still be at it, making no progress when I went back out. Sure enough there he was, still putting up a fight with the flat. Placing my groceries in the car, I scanned the area for the best course to walk up behind him without being seen; I had no intentions of being shooed away like the others. When I was within reach I took the tire iron from his hand, which was easy to do by then since most of his strength was exhausted from his efforts. “Darn lug nut won’t break huh? Here friend, let me take a whack at it.” As I bent down to take that whack he decided to do the same, right across my shoulder; Bam! There wasn’t a whole lot of power behind his shot (thank goodness!) so I just said, “That’s okay, I think I can get it myself.” The next action I was not prepared for in the least when he broke into a loud sob and ran around the other side of the car and got in. I’ll admit, I was just a little anxious, not knowing why he did that, or what he might be getting out of the car. I worked quickly to finish the job, one eye on my work and one on my not so vivacious friend, just in case. He exited the car as I finished putting on the spare and placing everything else in the trunk. In his hand were two pieces of paper, one was a note and the other a twenty dollar bill. The note told me a good bit of what I already knew; “I had a stroke a year ago and lost the use of my right arm and can no longer talk. I’m not used to anybody helping me but thank you, here is $20 for your trouble.” I placed the note in my shirt pocket and then stuck the $20 in his. “No need to pay me friend, we all can use a hand sometime or other, just glad I was here to help out.” That response, unfortunately, only brought another round of loud wailing.

This gentleman I speak of is not a rare bird at all, is he? I’m sure each of you can think of someone this reminds you of, someone who has always done for themselves, never asking for any help, and for the most part, never needing any. Perhaps this describes one of your parents, a friend, relative; maybe you? Actually, all of us have some degree of that attitude in us; the proper name we give it is called independence and most don’t wish to cede even an inch of it and will fight with everything in them not to. But the cold truth is if we live long enough, we come to the point where we cannot do totally for ourselves anymore and need the help of others; friends and family, that’s not being a charity case, that’s just life.

My Lady and I have tried to live our lives in way that allows us to be there for others when a need arises and that can take on many descriptions. In some cases it results in something physical such as a helping hand or supplying a needed item. Sometimes it’s just stopping to see or check on someone, maybe just being there to be a listening ear when no one else is. It’s not a big deal to us and doesn’t make us special. We call ourselves Christians and one of the main focuses of the Christian life is to practice charity, and in the Biblical sense all charity is just another way of saying, love.

I challenge everyone to look for ways to help others whether you agree with my position of faith or not. There’s a saying I like that goes like this; “The only time you should be looking down on someone is when you’re offering a hand to help them up.” Amen?

That’s all good and the way things should be, but what about when it’s your turn to be or need help, will you be ready to except and allow it in your life? I’m pushing up toward 60 in the not to far off future, good Lord’s will and the creek don’t rise. And I consider myself in pretty good condition, but already I find there are things I used to do with ease that I no longer have the energy or strength to fulfill. I will be the 1st to confess it took a lot of swallowing of pride, on my part, to ask for help, even from ones that I know would be more than happy to do so. I’ve had to learn it’s not a sign of weakness, but of strength. There are things I still want to do that the only way for me to accomplish some of them is to enlist the aide of others willing to come along side and be the added strength that’s needed for the task. You want to know the really neat thing about that? There are tons of folks willing and happy to be that added power to get you over the hump, sometimes friends and family, sometimes a stranger with a willing heart waiting for the chance to reach out to someone.

That’s exactly how I see our Lord. He’s willing to let us go with our own freewill, not interfering, but still there waiting to hear us say, “Lord, I need your help.” He’s there to be the help we need, to be the guide we need in this life. Psalm54:4 – Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustained me.

I got to see my friend once again, but this time it was in the store and in the company of two beautiful ladies, one looked to be about 30, and other, maybe 5. As I watched them I wondered if he had given thought to his situation and finally asked for help; or maybe someone saw a need and filled it. Either way the older gal was pushing a shopping cart asking my friend if needs this or that as they made their way down the aisle. The younger one’s job was to hold on to his one good hand. When they came to the end of the aisle he obviously took a wrong turn. I say obvious because the little girl tugged on his arm and said “No, Grandpa, this way!” He got this look on his face that for a minute I thought a little of the demeanor I experienced was about to rise. And it did, ever so lightly, with him sticking out his tongue and his little guide squealing in laughter and delight, while the mother pronounced on them, “Oh you two!” How’s that for a team, huh? I’d say pretty Awesome!


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