NEED HELP? (at the dentist part 3)

An update: Last week’s dental check-up went PERFECTLY – no cavities, no tartar, no yelling (see Yelled At)

my hard work paid off.

As I return to my “at the dentist” series, I share the story of 4 little words overheard in the waiting room.  A while back, a friend of mine was dealing with a painful foot problem that necessitated her wearing a walking boot.  Even walking was difficult during that lengthy time, and she was unable to drive.  It was one of those times when problems seem to compound, and she also needed to see the dentist. As she explained her situation, I learned that we go to the same dentist and that I was available on the morning of her appointment to help her out.  I’m not sure whether she asked me to do it or I offered, but a plan was made for me to pick her up at home, take her to the office and come back for her when she was done.  We built in plenty of time since the cumbersome boot would slow her down.

She thanked me over and over for the help, while apologizing for needing it. When we had made our way into the building and up to the office window, I stood next to my friend as she explained to the  receptionist that she had to have me drive her because of an injury that put her in a boot and kept her from getting there on her own. She was understandably frustrated with the ongoing pain and inconvenience of her situation.

I can still see the kindness in the woman’s face and hear the compassion in her response, “Everybody needs help sometime.” Caring and true words.

For some of us, though, “everybody” means “everybody but me.” I know people who serve others with seemingly endless energy, who recognize and meet the needs they see, but are hesitant, even resistant, to ask for or accept help. I’ve witnessed this while volunteering in our church’s Meal Train program.  Last winter, my husband and I were able to take a simple meal to an elderly couple from our church while they were home-bound with a health issue.  The wife had been reluctant to receive meals, but now admitted that the help was needed and appreciated while she cared for her husband.  This saintly lady has labored for the hungry and disadvantaged of our community for many years. I first came to know her when I began taking a turn working in our local Food Pantry, and was impressed with her strength and energy.  Last winter was her “sometime”.

Our Food Pantry is a combined effort of area churches that serves people who meet residence and income qualifications – and who admit that they need help. I’ve seen first-time visitors to the Pantry tentatively enter and get in line and heard how the lovely woman who collects their information and helps them make out their food request makes them feel welcome and at ease.  She, too, expresses that sometimes we need a little help.

Asking for help isn’t easy for many of us.  I suspect that few people ask our church for meals during a difficult situation, so it is the church family’s job to notice the need and contact our Caring Cooks coordinators about a Meal Train. Sometimes the coordinators make and deliver the food themselves rather than asking us volunteers for help!

I’m not always quick to recognize and meet other people’s needs.  It’s partially because I feel inadequate or nervous about what might be required.  Taking a friend to see my dentist whose office is in my neighborhood was easy, but if someone needed a ride to Pittsburgh or Columbus…(see Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares). Being  part of a caring church gives me opportunities to join others in making a difference in our community in ways that fit my schedule and abilities.

And when the recipients’ needs are met, I find my own heart filling up with JOY.  As gratitude is expressed, I often reply, “It’s my pleasure!” Perhaps I’ll start adding, “Everybody needs help sometime.”

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

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