Image by KarolusLinus via Flickr
Written by Karen D. Swim
Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help. *
Last year at Christmas, one of my best friends was going through a rough time. She was going through a divorce, her husband sued her for alimony, she was paying a mortgage and a lease and was recovering from major surgery. Yet, she remained grounded in her faith and characteristically upbeat.
I longed to be there for her but could only offer comfort and friendship by phone. During this time, her family traveled to be with her and her children during the holidays. Her father, stepmother, brother, wife and brand new baby filled the house with love and warmth. I was thankful she was not alone but also knew the financial strain of having guests. She never shared the depth of her problems with her family and while she enjoyed their company she felt horrible for not being able to buy them gifts and prepare a nice holiday meal. Toward the end of their two-week stay she was forced to confess her struggles and her family asked “Why didn’t you ask for help?”
When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody’s help in any way.*
Last week, James wrote a hard-hitting post about this very subject. It touched a deep chord as I questioned my own prideful determination to handle my problems alone. When my friend shared that she had no money and could not even buy groceries, her family gladly wrote her a check. She was so grateful for the love and help and the reminder that “we have not because we ask not.”
My friend, more sister than friend and is often a mirror of my own weaknesses. We are both tireless cheerleaders happy to lend an ear or hand but seldom asking for one in return. I am here to tell you sometimes the cheerleader needs a rally too. I read James’ post and cried for everyone (including myself) who has suffered in silence too embarrassed or proud to ask for help.
I have gotten better about receiving when offered but asking takes it to a new level that still frankly makes me uncomfortable. I am actively working on change (greatly aided by this big fat public declaration).
I know that right now there may be those reading this with unmet needs. You are not alone. Most people have good hearts and are happy to lend a hand when asked. Yes, there may be those who see you in a different light or a small few who simply will not care. That is their issue and not yours. Many more will gladly step up to the plate with help and solutions, if only you will ask.
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured,
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors.*
For those who may not have a need today, I encourage you to reach out to someone you believe may need help. That simple kindness can be the best gift you give this holiday season.
Have you ever suffered in silence? What kept you silent? Please feel free to share your own thoughts, observations, stories or song lyrics. All are welcomed. 🙂
*”Help”, Lyrics by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Sony /ATV Tunes LLC, Sony Beatles Ltd