I was contacted by a reader of my column who said she wanted to meet me. She had suffered considerably, cancer it was. And although I do not usually meet people like this, I agreed to see her. Anyway long story short, I found it difficult not to offer support - through my network of friends - easily done, without much trouble at all.
Anyway, the reason I write about this is to reflect on what makes us go out of our way to offer help. Isn't it so much easier to turn away? No one can fault us after all. But when we can easily do something - that costs us no more than what we would pay for a new tee shirt or a nice meal... I wonder what prevents us from doing so? More importantly, what prevents us from asking for help and support when we need it for ourselves, our family, and friends?
We feel embarrassed to ask... I know I do. But from just asking my friends who are doctors, donors, concerned individuals... so many are so prepared to step up. Perhaps we might consider lowering our defenses, sharing our vulnerabilities, getting our ego out of the way. And just share. Just show others what we need. How is that so difficult?
Could it be the law of reciprocity? We feel indebted to the point of feeling we have to return what we are given? Perhaps. But oftentimes, people just want gratitude. People are happy with smiles and the knowing that they have made someone's life better.
At least that's what I'm finding out now through my own assistance with this lovely person.
In learning to help another, I am learning to know myself.