Posts Tagged ‘caring’


22 January 2021

I searched in vain among my own photographs for an image conveying the action of helping. I had to resort to the work of other photographers to find any.

Is the simple action of helping really that rare in my recorded experience? Dare I say … yes?

30 years ago

It was about thirty years ago that my mother died. I remember getting the call from my dad, who was in the hospital, as he had been hurt in the accident, too.

I was 36. I was working in a half-basement office on a special project for my church. We were busy all day long. But my supervisor let me go out and take a walk after I got the call, and I said goodbye to Mom as best I could.

It didn’t hit me right away. And it never really hit that hard. But finally I realized that Mom had been standing in as my closest female friend for all those years. And now she wouldn’t be able to do that any more. I needed to find a new close friend.

But, that’s not the point of this post. The simple fact is that, for one reason or another, I began to get more emotional after Mom passed. And it got to the point where I pissed off people every once in a while. And when that happened, I would really wish I had someone to talk to. But no one really ever showed up.

A promise

So I made a promise to myself, that if the tables ever turned and I could see that someone I knew was upset and could use some company, I’d do my best to take a break and be there for them.

Well, I did occasionally run into someone waiting for a bus or sitting on a train who appreciated an attentive ear. But the only extreme situations I ran into in later years were after the fires and hurricanes that have been part of life, and that I helped with relief efforts on in 2018. And though there was some emotional suffering involved, my task was to help clean up the physical destruction so that the person or family or church could start over.

I started co-auditing in 2019. It was a real challenge for me, but the emotions were not usually that extreme.

Then came the lockdowns.

The tables turn back

My new young friend got hit very hard last summer by some difficult events. But she has been determined (!!!) to sort through it herself. I have extended my hand in every way I could think of. But it was only OK, or so it seemed to me, if it was her helping me, and then only when she could spare some time. She told me she was suffering, but she never asked for my help. I told her I was suffering and I did ask for her help, but not too emphatically, because I knew she was suffering more.

Yep. It was me, again, who needed help. And it was me, again, who was having a hard time finding any. Well, it was my promise, wasn’t it? It wasn’t anyone else’s promise to me.

I’ve been reading that the isolation has been hitting people pretty hard. The ones who failed for some reason to have a sufficient support network in place before this all went down. And that’s the way it is, isn’t it? In this society anyway. We’re all expected to take care of ourselves. It’s not exactly the case that anyone (like parents) stands around and makes sure this happens. But that is what’s expected. And it’s best that way, isn’t it? Stiff upper lip and all that. We worship the rugged individual, don’t we? Especially in the U.S.

Well, I don’t feel much like being a rugged individual any more, if I ever did. I cry every night and plead to my friend’s ex-Teddy Bear to help me get some real human company back into my life.

It seems to me that it wouldn’t be that difficult, if you knew that a friend – even an acquaintance – was alone and suffering, to arrange to come over and visit, or take regular walks with them. Or something!

More images of help – all animals

Since when are animals better at helping each other than human beings? How did it get that way?

Plus this girl, who was working at a clinic for injured raptors…