When our neighbor stopped last Sunday to see if she could help, one thing she said was, “When I saw you pushing the car I said to myself, ‘Hey! I know those people! I’ve gotta stop and see what I can do to help!”
It was such a blessing to know that we weren’t alone in our plight. There was nothing our neighbor could do for us…apart from what she did. She cared. She saw, stopped and offered help.
See. Stop. Offer help. Five cars passed us as we pushed our car. Only one stopped.
One out of five.
If you had passed us broken down and pushing our load, would you have stopped to see if you could help in some way? Would you have acknowledged our situation? seen our need?
Would you have been that ONE in five who stopped? Or, would you have been in one of the four cars that passed us and went on?
You see…I recognized the four cars that drove past us. I see and wave to the drivers of each every day on my walks through our neighborhood.
One in five stopped. There was nothing she could offer apart from making a phone call. She couldn’t fix the car and couldn’t help us push it. But, her care and concern strengthened us for the task and in our bond as neighbors.
Our neighbor offered what she could. And, that was enough.
Often, we are reluctant to offer help because we are afraid.
Afraid? Yes – of getting involved…of becoming responsible…of being used and abused…of taking on troubles that aren’t ours…of coming off as unconcerned/uncaring because we can’t fix the problem…of disappointing the expectations of others….
See. Stop. Help.
I can only do what I can do – I can do no more. The same is true with you. Our limitations shouldn’t stop us from acknowledging the situation and need of others – and offering, “What can I do to help?”
Asking the question doesn’t roll the problem onto our shoulders. It just opens the door to the possibility of us contributing, perhaps in some small way, to the solution.
“I’ll do what I can.” Often our ability to help is limited.
But, our limits shouldn’t be seen as inabilities – we do what we can, when we can with what we have. Our resources and abilities may change with time and circumstance. What we can’t do today, may become can do tomorrow.
Remember this – a person’s inability to do for us what we want or need shouldn’t in any way have a bearing on how we feel about that individual or the relationship we have with them. I can only do what I can do. The same is true with you. My limitations ebb and flow with time and circumstance. So do yours.
If I’ve disappointed you by not meeting all the needs you have, that makes me sad but it’s not my problem or my bad. I can only do what I can do. If I’ve known of your need and not offered to do what I can to help you, then I need to apologize to you and ask your forgiveness.
And, if I see you broken down by the side of the road, I’ll stop and offer what help I can, even if it’s only to sit with you until more substantial help arrives.
I hope you will do the same for me. 😉