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A good story about people helping us

April 10, 2013

For the past two weeks, we’ve been on the receiving end of lots of kindness from our little community of co-workers here. Two weeks ago, I (Lori) was heading out to run errands and then go to a cafe for what is hopefully becoming a once-a-month tradition of Lori’s Afternoon Out To Read Without Munchkins Around. We have a big gate that we open every time we drive in or out of our yard. As I opened the gate, it hit my leg, and a wire at the bottom of the gate poked into my leg. (Linguistics note: Do you like how I made “the gate” and “the wire” the actors in that sentence? I could have phrased it, “I pulled the gate too close to my leg and stabbed myself with a wire,” but that would point out my clumsiness and not the wire’s fault.) After I removed the wire, I thought, “Man, I’m going to have to get a band-aid on this before I go to town.” Little D had been watching me leave, so he and John saw me start walking back to the house. My leg started to hurt more, John helped me up the steps and went to get ice, I fainted for a bit and woke back up, John started cleaning the wound, blah blah blah.

Here’s where the story takes a turn for the sweet. A few co-workers, Bill and Robyn, were driving home and noticed that the gate was open. They came to ask us if they should close it. Bill happens to know a lot about first aid, so he helped care for the wound. Robyn helped distract Little D and got me pillows to lay on. They then called our director to come look at it. He thought the clinics wouldn’t do anything else for it, and since I’d had a recent tetanus shot, they decided I should just go inside and rest. I couldn’t walk, so three of them carried me. The director called his wife to have her look up what antibiotics I should take. He then drove into town to get the medicine and do one of my errands for me.

Bill and Robyn brought us supper that evening. The next day, yet another co-worker brought us lunch. Then our co-workers Andrew and Megan brought supper over and helped with dishes afterward. Andrew also did some shopping that I was supposed to do for someone else. Several of them helped me join their beach outing on Easter Monday, which is a public holiday here. They helped us carry all of the boys’ beach gear and helped me hop to and from the car as needed.

Baby M had fun at the beach with Robyn

Baby M had fun at the beach with Robyn

Ironically, even though my coffee date with myself was cancelled, I’ve had a lot of time to sit and read since then. I couldn’t put any weight on it for about five days. Then I used a roller chair from the office to wheel around the house for a few days after that. Now, two weeks later, I can walk almost normally for short distances.

Everywhere John and I have lived, we’ve found communities of people ready to help each other. This was true at our Iowa university, our Illinois neighborhood, our Texas campus, and now our Solomon Islands home. Our community here is like thousands of other communities, where people band together to help people who need it.

  • I think of my parents, who brought supper a few days ago to a relative whose brother had suddenly died.
  • I think of my neighbor in Illinois who brought me 7-Up and Jello and sat with me on my bathroom floor when I was home sick from work one day.
  • I think of when we hurriedly left the Solomons a year ago. Then, a co-worker literally went through our dirty laundry and listed off each item of clothing so I could write a list of what clothes we were leaving here. Nothing like someone calling out, “two pairs of men’s underwear, one tanktop…” to make you feel like friends. That same day, another co-worker asked how she could help. I pointed at our two backpack carry-ons and at an unreasonably large pile of items we hoped to fit in our carry-on luggage. “Make as much of that stuff fit into those bags as you can.” She somehow made it all fit.

Of course, there are always people who say they will help but don’t follow through, and sometimes the best-intentioned of us are those people. Sometimes we Christians can have the attitude of “I’ll promise to pray for you as a substitute for offering tangible help.” Still, I’m always happy for the cynical side of me to often be proven wrong by the selflessness of people who really are loving their neighbors as themselves.

Whether you’re a Christian or not, I hope you have people like this who you can call when you need help. Who say “Let us know if you need anything” and mean it. People who you’re not (very) embarrassed to have literally carry you through your house when you can’t walk. If you don’t have people like this, try going to a small group at church, a Bible Study, or some other (preferably small-ish) gathering. John and I have made great friends in other settings, but our best luck making networks of friends has been through churches or other ministries. We’ve found groups of 20 or so people to be a good size, as the groups aren’t so close that it’s hard for new people to fit in, but it’s not so huge that you can’t remember anyone’s name when you go home. Through those gatherings and ministries, we’ve made great friendships that reach into all parts of our lives. It’s not just about the actual events.

It might take several visits to the same group, or to several different groups. Keep trying. Don’t be afraid to call in favors. Some people might not be able to follow through, but that’s the only way to find those people who really do mean it when they offer help. And sometimes you’ll be the one God uses to help someone and be a reflection of his love. We’re glad to have been on the receiving end of this kind of love, shown through casseroles and first aid, over the past few weeks.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 19, 2013 6:56 pm

    Gotta love our SITAG family!

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