Thursday, February 27, 2014

When it comes to H E L P why do we not ask for it?

I was about six months pregnant with my second child and I was with my husband and daughter in Chicago for a wedding. It was the month of August which means hot with a chance of drenching rain in the afternoon. We had just gotten off a commuter train and were trying to navigate with a stroller through the on coming push of people going towards the next train. At the base of the stairs that led up to the city a young woman was carrying an open box of stuff and dropped it everywhere. The crowd parted and pushed past her as if she wasn't there but an invisible object was diverting them somehow. My husband and I were the only ones to stop and help her. Why is that?

Why are strangers so shy about lending a helpful hand when one is clearly needed? When did we as a collective decide that we would be too inconvenienced to help?

When I was a little girl I remember my parents or other adults helping complete strangers out because it was the thing to do. They also accepted help better then we do today. 

If someone offers to help you with something. How do you react? Do you say thank you and continue on with their assistance? Or do you say no thank you and struggle on while the other person walks away? Does it mean you are a weaker person by accepting someone else's helping hand? In which decade did we as a society start equating weakness with accepting help? 

For me, I would say it was the 80's. All those big shots on Wall Street and in big corporations who shot to the top stabbing their coworkers figuratively in the back just to get there. When women fought tooth and nail to sit in those board rooms with their power suits trying to prove that they were tougher then any of the men in there. That atmosphere created the indifference attitude of the 90's when it was cool and in vogue to be snappy and rude. When people made fun of others in need.

Here we are in 2014 and people drop their eyes and walk as fast as they can away from someone who needs help. Or we stand there watching another person struggling with something acting rather impatient until they finish whatever it is.

What is that old saying about the more hands makes lighter work? 

I admit it. I am guilty of not asking for help too. I have been practicing though over the last 10 years to ask for help. And it really does take practice. It feels good to help others out. You should try it sometime. Oh, and it isn't a sign of weakness either.

Once we get back into the art of helping each other out with smaller tasks, we can then move on to acting as a bigger group to help out more people. One person at a time. Whether it is holding a door open for a mother trying to scoot her children through . Or asking someone to help you carry something that is just a little too heavy for one person. Can you do that? I can. 

* I wrote this for my friend Esther's Spirit of The Poor, click here for more blogs*


Newell Hendricks said...

Luna, Thank you for this reminder of how we should be. I have tried to maintain an open attitude toward those around me, but I'm sure there are times when I am withdrawn and don't pay attention to the needs of others. This is never acceptable. It is cultural. We must consciously work to change our culture, in the way you suggest and in so many other ways.

Luna Indigo said...

You're welcome Newell. It does have to be a consciousness choice at first. I wish that wasn't true. It might even lighter your step for the rest of the day if you help another human out. :-)

Newell Hendricks said...

Here's a story I put in my comment the first time I wrote and cicn't get through:
I visit my granddaughter each week. It is a 90 mile trip to a rural area. The last 30 miles is on a rural highway which has a community bus that runs every 3 hours. (I used to take it when I biked to my daughters) Anyway, I picked up a hitch-hiker one time who tried to get to his regular hospital appointment without waithing for the bus. About 2 months later my duaghter told me she had picked up the same hitch-hiker, and he described me as the last person who gave him a ride. I was glad the tradition of helping people in need has been passed on in my family.

Luna Indigo said...

Kindness spread from one generation to the next. What a great story. I bet that hitchhiker was so incredibly thankful for those rides from both of you.

Esther said...

I am so much more into giving than I am into receiving. Still. Especially as a mom, I hate it when I need anything, because it brings up issues of shame for me. If I need something, that is equivalent to failure. But I don't think it should be. It makes me want to move in next door with you and start swapping real things, like real babysitting, and food, and gas. Essentials. Right?

Luna Indigo said...

Yes! Just take baby steps at first. Believe me, I know that feeling of failure when you ask for help. It is odd isn't it? And yet failure is okay for us too. I would welcome you as a neighbor. We could learn together how to help each other with out the feelings of inadequacy that go along with it.

Juliet said...

I wonder if the reluctance to accept help stems from us having internalised the belief that if people are in need it's because they are not trying hard enough. At some level maybe, too many of us believe that about ourselves even if we say we don't believe it about others who are in need.
I loved reading this reminder of how our atitude to helping and being helped is yet another aspect of what needs changing as we work to build the Kingdom.

Luna Indigo said...

a good point Juliet. How many times have we all been told to "try harder" when something isn't working? However sometimes we need a different approach to be successful.