I don’t know about you, but I know I can safely say there have been times when I was asked by others to help with something or to commit to time that I otherwise had planned for something else, that I hesitated while contemplating the weight of the decision. It was as if each decision was measured by some invisible scale that I had constructed over time to help determine whether I could afford it financially, emotionally, or physically.
Having been raised in a home which, at times, had very little money, I learned to make what I had go as far as I could. Even so, for as long as I can remember I’ve been generous and shared what I had with others. Regardless, at times there has been a little voice in my head that pulled back and hesitated from letting go of what I had; for whatever reason.
Our decision to help others is usually based on how well we know that person; whether they’re family or a close friend verses some stranger off the street who we’ve never met. Due to the influence of social media, today we’re more guarded than ever with trusting others who ask for our help having seen so many people taken advantage of or stolen from. One thing is for certain, though, if that person is someone we’re close to, say a family member or close friend, most of us would do almost anything to help them if they truly needed it.
Ironically, if we can break through our fears and hesitations to help, the sense of joy and wholeness we have afterward far outweighs the self-preservation we felt to start with. It’s as though the burden we thought would ensue has lifted and we now feel better than before knowing we made a difference in someone else’s life; that we had a purpose.
It’s when we see that person not as an object or someone taking from us, but as one closest to us whom we love (possibly more than ourselves) that we’re free to let go and give. It’s love that takes away the burden of helping and turns it into an act of joy. It’s love that takes the fear we feel of letting go of something we own and turns it into satisfaction knowing that someone else was helped by it even more than ourselves.
There’s a song from the 60’s by The Hollies called, ‘He Ain’t Heay He’s My Brother’ that really puts it all into context. The song talks about helping to carry another’s burden along a long road with many winding turns. Yet, their burden isn’t heavy because ‘He’s my brother’.
That’s where I want to be. I have a long way to go still, but on this road of life I’m bound to come across others nearly every day who will need my help. If I can see them though love’s eyes as my brother, that load won’t be heavy. Indeed, it will be light and we’ll both get there together…