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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

When You Can't BE a Helper, Find the Helpers!


My dad gave a lot of great advice in the short 17 years I knew him. One tidbit came when things were difficult. I believe the year was 1983 and I was going to be going into 1st grade in September. My dad was off work and I vaguely remember being with him when he went to Union meetings. We were broke, I know that now. My mom had to go out and get a job and that left me with my dad. I don't remember being broke. I remember having a lot of fun doing things that didn't cost any money at all. I remember bus rides to the mall where we would walk in the air conditioned hallways and chat. I remember trips to the beach where I would sit in the surf from what felt like sun up to sun down while my dad sat under the tree or chatted with the lifeguard - always keeping a watchful eye on his little punkin'. I remember mowing the lawn and hauling bags of grass clippings to the horse farm where I would then receive a short pony ride in exchange for clippings. I never went to bed hungry and my heart was full. 

Fast forward a few years, I learned my uncles had generously provided my family with some extra money to help get us through those difficult months. Contracts had been written up at kitchen tables and monies were paid back slowly but most surely in full. My uncles had helped us through that awful time. I had no idea any of that had taken place. I just thought we stopped over at their homes on Sundays to enjoy coffee and donuts - little did I know my dad was making a payment while I enjoyed the sweet pastries and gentle family banter. It wasn't until a time in my life when I felt hopeless that my father shared the sage advice:

When You Can't BE a Helper, Find the Helpers!

With that advice, he told the story of his brothers helping during our financial hardships. He went on to tell stories about Joe the amazing oncology nurse who gently helped him deal with the pain of his cancer. I learned about my grandmother who was a young widow with small children and how she would take in laundry to help her neighbors and in turn help put food on the table. I learned that you would never go broke giving your time, talents, and treasures to your friends and community. He taught me to never take the parking space closest to the door because someone needs that spot. He taught me to offer to help a stranger with their groceries, returning their cart, or reaching something at the store. 

He also taught me that on the dark days when you feel helpless you can always find a ray of light if you look for the helpers. You can learn from them, be inspired by them. and your faith in humanity will be restored! 

Today was an unusually rough day with things not going my way. Many tears were shed. When I finally had a moment to take a breath, I smiled. I smiled not because the day was amazing or full of joy, but because when I needed them most, the helpers appeared. Long story short, someone was injured at my house and it's not my story to tell, but I do know when my address went over the dispatch the helpers dropped what they were doing. They arrived one by one with a cloud of dust behind their vehicles. They arrived in trucks hauling seed. They arrived in work trucks. They arrived dirty and tired and I know they left many things undone at their own farms to provide help at mine. They pulled in and left vehicle doors wide open as they ran to help me help a friend (a stranger to them). I didn't even have to find the helpers today because they came in droves and they found me! I just had to open my eyes to see the beauty God provided.

My Pastor also reminded me that God is in control and even though it feels like things are out of control, my Savior has a plan. 

Thank you to all the helpers. Thank you to my daughter for keeping her cool and following each instruction. Thank you to my husband who later said "I was really impressed with you today - you're pretty amazing under pressure". To my Pastor who always knows just what to say to help put me back together when I'm falling apart. To all my helpers, neighbors, friends, and strangers. Tonight I smile because of you and Daddy was right, I'm inspired to be more like you!



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