There’s Being There and There’s Not

I was catching up on cop blogs the other day, and read a post by Officer Smith that hit close-to-home. What he was talking about is knowing that his uncle needed help, and the members of his church, who live right in the community, were wishing him well via postings to his wife on Facebook, but not really helping. That is, not providing the help that was needed. Praying for someone but not lifting a finger to go visit, run an errand, pick something up … whatever … to really help … isn’t very Christian. It’s lazy.

When I was laid up with my broken leg, I couldn’t get out and help people as I ordinarily do. That drove me crazy, because in ordinary circumstances, I was always the one out there helping others. I would get up off my butt and go do something if I knew that someone was seriously ill or injured and needed help.

I observed that in my own situation. I had lots of Facebook well-wishers, many of whom live out-of-town so I accept that social networking is a convenient way to offer support. But there were about ten of my neighbors — all who live within a mile or two of me — who frequently commented on Facebook offering platitudes, but never once asked me if I needed anything.

I have to clarify a bit — there were three Facebook friends who live nearby who did pick up the phone and call me, or email me, and offered to help. And I took them up on it! These were my friends who took me on the clandestine outings that I had mentioned in earlier posts. Or they just came at lunchtime and helped prepare lunch, or retrieve packages from my doorstep, or … whatever … they helped. Big or little, they stepped up and not only offered support, but gave it.

In summarizing this mild rant, I am saying that if you live near someone who you know has a severe injury or illness, don’t pretend to offer support by posting a comment on Facebook thinking you are being nice and you’re done with it. Get up off your friggin’ butt and go help! Make the person who was hurt or ill swallow his or her pride and accept help. (That was hard for me to do, but I realized that my request for help actually made my friends feel better, too.)

Get going … go help.

Life is short. That’s why.

One thought on “There’s Being There and There’s Not

  1. A couple of thoughts came to mind as I read this post. Caring and helpfulness are taught both by direct action and by observation. Many, like you, who attend to the needs of others do so because of the strong teaching and example set by your parents. What starts as an expectation at home that is rewarded and reinforced becomes part of the nature of an individual as an adult. Our families provide the early training ground for not only how we see the world around us, but how we interact with others. You probably can't imagine a time when caring for others is not a part of your daily life and is as natural as breathing.

    A very real distinction that is usually not acknowledged by the self-proclaimed Christian sect, is the very real difference between religion and faith. Faith is what moves us to care for others and attend to their personal needs. Religion leads us to do nothing more than pray for those in need. Prayer without action is simply following the rules of religion. We are told you must pray for others, so we do. Faith, however, not only moves us to pray for others but to do all we can to alleviate the suffering. Faith is inspired by mercy. Religion is inspired by law. Those who offered you plattidues did so out of religious obligation. Those who offered prayer, plattitudes, and lifted a finger to help do so out of faith.


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