Sunday, 5 April 2015

Helping People in Need

“On the parable of the Good Samaritan: "I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

I have benefited from the kindness of a stranger a few times in my life and I will never forget those times that a stranger stopped to help me when I was in need. The most poignant example of this happened in December last year, when I collapsed in a Sainsbury's car park and strangers - shoppers, Sainsbury's employees and people from the street - came to my aid and helped my partner look after me until the ambulance came. I cannot remember much about that day, but what I do remember is the Sainsbury's first aider being right by my side, speaking to me, reassuring me and dabbing away the blood (I fractured my eye socket and shoulder when I fell), while her boss grabbed blankets and towels from the store to keep me warm and re-directed traffic. I was touched by their kindness in a way that I cannot describe - it goes much deeper than being thankful for their help, much deeper, right into my soul.

The importance of kindness
We live in a world that is often dark and frightening, but it is not without hope and light; love, hope, friendship and kindness punch holes into the darkness. The majority of people on this planet are good people, full of goodness, light and kindness. These people make life worth living for and they chase away the darkness; these are people who will stop to help strangers in need. I will never forget the people who looked after me that day. I do not feel that anything I can do will ever be enough to express the depths of the gratitude I have for my good Samaritans. I wish they could see my feelings, because then they would know. When I was well enough I returned to the store to thank them in person. All that mattered to them was that I was back on my feet. They were very modest about it, but to me, they are my heroes.

While we are on the subject of good Samaritans:

5 Ways You Can Help A Friend With A Chronic Illness:

1. The most important thing you can do to help someone with a chronic illness is to be there for them. That is what counts the most. 

2. Please be patient with your friend. Being chronically ill is a constant battle, 24 hours a day, and they don't get a break. Chronic illness is a draining whirlwind of symptoms and emotion. Your friend may get angry, or feel low, or need to vent. That is okay. Be there for them. Listen. Even if you don't know what to say. Your presence is what is needed more than anything else during these times. 

3. "Be there if your friend needs help, but encourage them when they want to do it themselves."*

4. Offer to help with chores, errands or anything else that they might need. Band Back Together have these suggestions: "Offer specific forms of help - "I'm going to the grocery store, do you need anything?" or "Can I do some laundry for you?" Any number of household things, your friend might need...Volunteer to watch his or her children...Offer to watch his [or her] kids during doctor appointments...Chauffeur your friend around to places she may need help...Offer to take your friend to the doctor and take notes for them"* 

5. Learn about your friend's illness so you can understand what he or she is going through. But most importantly, this may even save their lives if you learn how to help them should an emergency situation arise.

For more ways you can help someone with a chronic illness, I recommend Understanding Someone With Chronic Pain by Wikihow:

And so this concludes this post. I hope to catch up with Day 4 tomorrow (while on Day 5!). Wishing you a fabulous weekend! 

*Extracts from this amazing article by Band Back Together: