(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Saturday, 4 May 2013

On becoming the helped

James Rhodes (pianist and general cool dude) just tweeted this:

All in all, one of those videos which just makes me appreciate the world, and people.

I've always been the helper. The one quite literally helping the old lady across the road.

Even last week when in hospital poorly, I was caring for the old lady with dementia - taking her back to her bed after she'd tried to get out, sitting with her to calm her a bit and prevent her taking out her cannula for the 4th time. And worrying as I'm not steady on my feet, and fearing we would both fall if I lost my balance as I had her gently but firmly latched onto my arm.

I'm the physical doer. I used to be the one standing on altars in church to change bulbs, or clean the reredos, or whatever. Is easy to be the physical do-er, I found, you just do it. And people are helped, and can appreciate the difference in a short time-frame.

Nowadays, often I'm the one in need of being helped. Of physical help - when I've fallen over and can't get myself back up again. I can buy a piece of cake, but I can't walk with the plate to a seat to eat it. Some doors are too heavy, even if I turn around and lean on them.

Becoming the helped not the helper is strange. I struggle with it. I'm stubborn, y'know. I never want to put anyone out, I struggle to ask people to help, but if I'm lying on the carpark ground with legs not working, people will come and help. Thankfully. The world is full of properly good eggs (even if they are wearing flipflops sometimes). People offer me help and I never know quite how to react. I'm always outwardly grateful, I hope.
But I still haven't quite got over the issue of pride. It isn't a big issue, it is just this niggle.

The shift from being the physical helper to physically helped isn't one I'd really considered. There are some things about declining health that I've considered, accepted, adapted to, moved on from. There are others who pop up unexpectedly and go "aha, gotcha, think on this for a while, feel a bit shaken up".

It also makes me question how to help in non-physical ways too - I like helping people, but I've got to shift how I do this.

"Any act could become kindness, if it doesn't have a profit motive"

Someone said to me this week, when talking about me learning to live with my body: "Kindness isn't about indulgence, it is taking the 5 year old kicking and screaming to the dentist". Hmm.

St John of the Cross wrote "Christ is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig, we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides". Kindness is like that too. Respect is like that as well. Humanity is like that also.

Anyway, the world is good. Has helpers everywhere. From the physical picker-uppers-of-people-on-the-floor, to the listeners, to whatever.

Kindness, respect and humanity. Awesome.