I have a wonderful answer! It won’t cost you anything;
requires little time; and you can do it anywhere.
Best of all: No matter your limitations, anyone can do it!
Of course, you have to read my story first. As many things in life,
it’s the journey, not simply the destination that counts...
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One morning last week, I arrived early to a coffee shop where I was meeting a friend. Too much in need of coffee to wait for her, (sad, but true) I paid for mine, and scoped out a a quiet table. Sitting down, me being who I am, I naturally, spilled some on my jacket. Following this, I had to laugh when I saw that the table I had chosen was missing its napkin holder. I decided to beg one off of someone at another table. So, I walked over to a man sitting nearby, leaned over to explain my situation, and asked for a napkin; then, I waited for his reply.
He didn’t answer right off. He was too surprised. Not the “I-didn’t-see-you” kind of surprise; rather, something entirely different.
|Not the same man--this is Rasmus Behncke Henrik|
Silvius, a man with muscular dystrophy who is
part of the fashion world in Denmark, but with
a likely similar disorder.
The fellow was surprised I had spoken to him at all, because people don’t normally engage willingly with folks like him--those with awkward and rather embarrassing physical challenges. Everyone in the tiny coffee shop most likely had already noticed his awkward, jerking movements, and seen his strange-looking walking apparatus sitting alongside his chair. That odd thing alone was like having a flashing neon sign that read, “Do not cross”.
Side Note: It’s a shame we’re so uncomfortable with such folks, but I’m not criticizing anyone. We’ve been segregated from one another so that “we-the-non-awkwardly- physically- challenged” have no idea what we should or can do. Sure, a small percentage of people just don’t care--which still leaves a huge percentage who are well-intended but have no idea how to respond.
The man’s surprise changed into a welcoming smile. “Sure,” he answered, “Take as many as you want.” The words didn’t come as easy as I just typed them, though. Instead, I listened with all my might, as with great energy, he worked against his muscles which refused to be still, forcing out words that sounded rather like this: “Shh-oarh...tah-ayyeik ahhs muh-hany ay-uhhs yooh wha-ahnt.”
“Thanks,” I grinned back. “ In that case, I’ll have three!” Still looking directly into his face, I saw how pleased (relieved maybe?) he was that I understood him.
I returned to my table, which was right behind his. Just as I sat down, he turned to me with effort and said, “Whood yooh lah-ak tooh joh-hoin me?” (Would you like to join me?)
“Well, I’m waiting for someone...but I can sit down with you until she arrives,” I answered, and moved to pull up a chair beside him.
We had barely begun to talk, before my friend arrived. I was sorry we didn’t have more time together, and when I looked at him, I realized something I hadn’t put together before: that the smaller facial muscles which respond unconsciously to emotions appear to work normally in folks with disorders like his. I wondered if he had no control over these either, because he might not have wanted his disappointment to be exposed in such rawness.
Inasmuch as I wanted to continue talking with him, my friend was important too. I said good-bye, telling him I hoped our paths would cross again.
It was just a small thing...a few minutes of my day. When I walked away from him, though, I knew God had allowed me be what this fellow needed for the moment. I’ve no idea why, but I knew it was right. A small thing for me...but a very big thing for him.
Now that illness prevents me from participating in structured kinds of community or church-centered helping/social programs, I feel grateful whenever I can participate in one of these in-the-moment opportunities. There are two very important truths at work here (according to me…)
~ Truth Number 1 - People everywhere need help. Not just people with recognizable struggles. Completely abled appearing people...even the beautiful, powerful, talented, capable, and wealthy around us. You can see it in their eyes, their postures, their tones, and their anxious words. If you stop to think about it for just a moment, you know you do.
~ Truth Number 2 - 99% of people appear more physically relaxed, smile, and seem to stand a bit taller when they are given a bit of help, are encouraged, or simply extended a kind word in a moment of need.
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My Three Easy No-Fail Steps to Guide You:
1 - Slow down just a little. BP (Before Pain) I always wanted to give myself more room between activities/appointments, etc. Now, I have to do so because there is a direct correlation between level of pain and my level of busyness, energy expenditure, or stress.
(This balance issue is at work for everyone. Maybe your issue isn’t physical pain--maybe it’s another illness or disorder; or maybe it’s heart-ache, anxiety, depression, or overwork. The correlation still fits.)
2 - SEE with your eyes and with your heart. You don’t have to look very far to see someone who could use your help.
3 - Then, DO whatever little you can do. Don’t over think it. I’ve only been rebuffed two times in my life, and even then it wasn’t harshly. Do be sure to do whatever you do with a heart for getting nothing in return, and consider telling no one about it. Finally, keep doing things for others until it becomes a natural thing for you.
Bright Idea! The holidays are just around the corner, when our thoughts lead us to want to help others in a more purposeful way. Maybe this can be your way to begin--letting your littles make a huge difference in the lives of others!
Until next time,
Blessing and Peace,
p.s. Pray for me to learn to write shorter postings! Try as I might when I start out writing one, I can’t seem to do so! I hope you’ll hang with me until that time comes!