During Harvey we saw so many people step up to help in wondrous ways.
At the same time, my social media feed was filled with people calling names and insulting others who were not behaving the way the poster wanted them to in the face of Houston’s devastation. Or Florida’s. For the most part, the posters felt those others weren’t “stepping up” sufficiently.
I’m not big on name-calling. I don’t think it gets us anywhere. But, I feel their pain.
We have to be shown how.
By nature, I’m someone who steps up. I’m pretty sure it’s because my mother was that way and she modeled it for me. If someone needed help of any kind, she was there: trips to the doctor, food, money, anything. If she could help, she would. And I’m that way, too. And, I’m happy to say, so is my husband.
To my disappointment, I’ve discovered that many people are NOT that way. In fact, most people don’t seem to want to go out of their way to help another, unless it’s an extreme emergency.
Although I’m pretty self-sufficient and haven’t needed much help in my life, there have a been a couple of times in recent years when I HAVE needed help. Times when I’ve been in a group of friends and it was clear I needed help –and NO ONE stepped up. Even people I’d helped.
I didn’t need money. I needed presence and support. Each of the people involved had that to give. And didn’t.
I knew it was because no one wanted to interrupt their good time or whatever they were doing. Their field of vision extended about two feet in front of them and that’s it. So, yes, disappointed, for sure. I don’t think it’s a surprise that I’ve seen very little of most of those women since. Because, and I’m being honest, I respected them far less after that experience.
We don’t like to disrupt our lives.
So, it’s not a surprise that some sat on their asses while people affected by stomrs suffered. Now, it’s absolutely true that many, MANY people stepped up. I know they did. And it’s wonderful!
But others who could afford to give time, money, effort, didn’t.
Shame on them.
Almost every day presents opportunities of all kinds to step up for someone in some way. To do a kindness. To help someone without being asked.
Or just to care. And you know what? It’s a learned behavior.
I remember when my husband left me and his entire family disappeared, instantly. It was the first family divorce before divorce was common and I’m certain no one really knew what to do. Not at the time. Still, I was terribly hurt.
I swore I’d never treat someone like that. So when my brother left his wife, I stayed in her life. I just knew how she’d feel if we all vanished like my ex-husband’s family did to me. So I stuck. It helped that I really liked her. But she’s been a beloved member of my close family ever since, and we’re even closer than before he left.
So it’s possible to learn from what happens to us. And it’s always the right thing to step up and help another. To do unto others.
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