Helping Those in Need

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Given by Lloyd D. Newell  - March 22, 1998

One of the most difficult dilemmas of life can occur when we sense that a loved one or friend needs help, but we're not sure how to provide it. Perhaps we see a child crying. Something has upset her, but when we ask what's wrong, she quickly replies, "Nothing." Maybe a friend has lost his job, and we want to show our support and sympathy. But it is often difficult to find the right words. Perhaps a neighbor has suffered a loss, and we want to provide what comfort we can. But we are also reluctant to intrude inappropriately.

It is easy under such circumstances to feel helpless or inadequate, with little comfort to offer and little joy to share. It is important, however, that we not allow our feelings of discomfort to prevent us from offering what aid we can. Almost always, the help we offer will be gratefully received. Sometimes even a small gesture that says "I care" can be enough to make a difference.

A businessman sat in a busy airport and noticed a young mother struggling with a tired, crying child. At first he was reluctant to intrude. He was, after all, a stranger. Perhaps an offer to help would be resented, he thought. But seeing an edge of desperation on the young woman's face persuaded him to intervene. She responded to his offered help with a grateful thank you. He held her child while she filled a bottle and watched her bags as she changed the baby's diaper. Although his aid lasted only a few minutes and he never saw her again, he had the satisfaction of knowing that he had made a difference and had turned a difficult moment into a manageable one for someone who, however briefly, had needed him.

While we may not always know exactly what to do in times of difficulty, we can almost always help. A small gesture of help, offered sincerely to someone genuinely in need, can literally change a life for the better.

From "The Spoken Word"