Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Monday, October 14, 2013

Helping Others

I was at the grocery store last week. The woman in the checkout line behind me was using one of those electric scooters that many stores provide, with a big basket on the front of it full of groceries. I asked if she needed assistance putting the groceries up on the conveyor belt, and she was very much relieved. Both she and the cashier repeatedly thanked me. It made me very pleased that I was able to help, that I had offered, and that I helped her. At the same time, it made me sad. Why? Because they both felt the need to thank me so profusely.
It should be human nature to offer help whenever we see it may be needed, and we can provide it. It shouldn't be seen as such an extraordinary deed. No one religion has a monopoly on helping other people, including strangers. It is not unique to any one culture. Rather, it is a human thing to do. It is a part of living in a community.
Whenever I see someone struggling to get in or out of a car, to reach something in a grocery store, etc, I ask if they need any assistance. If they say “No”, I say, “Good for you”. If they say “Yes”, I will either jump in or ask what they want me to do, depending on how obvious it is what needs to be done. People are often too embarrassed to ask for help, but relieved when it is offered. I am sure there are some people who are annoyed or insulted that I would ask, I hope that my praiseful response appeases that.

The person needing help could be any one of us, depending on the circumstances. If you don't need help today, maybe you did last week, or will next week, or next decade. The person offering help should be every one of us who can, in whatever ways we can. I know that many of my readers are in pain, and/or have varying levels of fatigue and functional abilities. Even so, there may be areas where you can offer your help: holding a door open, feeding a baby, reading to a child or person undergoing chemo, etc. Remember: if you are the one receiving assistance, you are providing an opportunity for another person to be helpful, thus making them feel good about themselves. 

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