I used to help out around the house as a child quite a bit, and continued to through my teenage years. I wasn’t perfect at this, but I did tend to my chores and tried to help out in other ways when I was younger. Due to our family dynamics there were responsibilities that I took on that many American children do not. Don’t worry, this is not a woe is me post. The situation led to me really enjoying helping, if I am capable of doing so. I loved it when I did some work around the house and my mom came home after working a long day. I loved it when she appreciated it, even when it was simple appreciation, something as small as a sigh of relief because it was one less thing on her plate.
I find that I still have a little bit of that in me, however, I believe my motivation to help is currently somewhat jaded. I wrote the story of Paul and William because there are several things I want to refer back to and I believed it to be the best way for me to communicate what I am thinking. I will try to keep on one track at a time and not meander all over the place.
To start, I want to look at the wrestling match I have been having with continuing to want to help people. I really do enjoy getting some things done around my house. Mowing the lawn, fixing dinner, repairing something that is broken, doing laundry, etcetera, I find a sense of relief if I can check something off my list. I also like to do some of the things I do because I want to provide an environment for my wife and child that they can enjoy, and that they don’t have to feel overwhelmed at any time because I can swoop in and help.
Honestly, I am wondering if I am kind of jaded. I am noticing that I have to be careful or pride and an unhealthy amount of self focus could seep in.
On the other side of the coin, we all get those calls…you know those calls.
Let me say, before I go into this, I don’t mind helping people move as a rule. If I have helped you move in the past, chances are I didn’t mind…but we all have had the following situation happen to us.
“Hey, could you help me move on Saturday?”
“Maybe, I would have to look at my schedule. What time? “
“Well, I was hoping to start early and knock it out so everyone could get done and go home since it was Saturday. Shouldn’t take long, maybe an hour, I’ll have everything packed up.”
“Yeah, I should be able to be there about nine.”
“Great, thanks so much! “
Good feeling, helping out a friend. You may have to shift some scheduling around, but it is all good. You may not feel an overwhelming feeling of fulfillment, but you do feel some. Saturday morning rolls around; you drive to your friends’ soon to be former residence. Walk up, knock on the door, wait a minute, they come to the door with a half frantic look on their face.
“Come on in. I haven’t gotten everything done, but it shouldn’t take too long.”
You look around, that little glimmer of fulfillment vanishes as you see approximately 12% of the house packed and your friend needs to run out to get more boxes.
It is going to be a long day.
It is going to be a long day.
That is just an example. I don’t have an aversion to helping people move. It is just something most people have experienced.
The point is, the next time someone calls me to help them move; I have a bit more hesitation. If it happens again, I have more hesitation. Soon enough, the day comes that I start making excuses, I may help, but I make stuff up to leave early or get there late. I may even, heaven forbid, not come at all because I have a “very important meeting.”
I know what you are thinking, “No, not you Adam…say it ain’t so!”
How often have we tried to do something the glorifies God, brings honor to Him, or maybe we even feel called to do and it has turned out less like accomplishing a task at home and more like helping an ill prepared friend move? How do we react to those who need help when it puts us out, or doesn’t meet our schedule? Do we stop trying to help because it isn’t handy? Do we get tired of people because their need for help is greater than our desire to give? Does it hurt us to withdrawal from our benevolence account (time, money, etc) more than what we are comfortable with?
I have come to realize that I am horrible…horrible...
…at this. I will help to this point, but no more. I am not talking about enabling. I am not suggesting we let ourselves be abused in these matters. I am suggesting that maybe if I am only worried about checking things off my list around the house that maybe I am a bit too self focused and have closed out the existing world and the hurts that truly exist. Maybe I should broaden my view of the world by just helping out my friend. Maybe it is a move, but maybe it is a broken heart, maybe it is news that pierces their heart and they have no idea where to go from here. Maybe it is a blind beggar on the street that has no one to talk to, maybe it is someone you have known for some time but you come to find out that they have no one else to talk to, maybe it is you that need the help.
This is a post about more than just helping a friend move. We, who are believers, are called to help others. I am realizing just how short I come in that matter, I am trying to express that and challenge others to search within themselves on the same matter. Maybe we, like William, need to go looking for the Paul’s, and see what their story is and if we can help. Maybe you know who your Paul is, maybe you don’t, either way…don’t lose heart.
I will continue this next time…from a different angle…