Reaching out

While working in New York City, I trained myself not to look at the people I passed or even acknowledge them.  That was quite a change for me since growing up in the South it was required that you speak or, at the very least, nod to the person you pass on the street.  Last week, I watched the Tuohy’s television interview on Good Morning America. 

 They were talking about how one small moment can change your life.  Their motto now is “Turn around” since those two words started their journey.  When I was growing up, there was space for everyone to move here on earth.  Now, there is less and less space for us as our population grows.  Consequently, we have created our personal space.  We maintain an aloof attitude as we wander through life.

But I wonder how much of life we miss.  Whenever I see a news story about someone helping people in other countries, I always wonder why they aren’t helping the folks at home.  There are plenty of people all around us who need help of one kind or another.  Why would we shun them and turn to help others?  By sending $10.00 a month we can help that unknown person so far away.  Isn’t that the key?  We send our money and never have to become involved.  We feel safe and smug that we are helping someone.  We can help without becoming involved.

The truth is that becoming involved with someone is the best way to enrich other’s lives and ours.  Life becomes more meaningful and precious.  This is what the Tuohys discovered by bringing Michael Oher into their home.  Both sides learned and grew from the experience. 

However, helping others is tricky.  We must acknowledge that even though someone may need help it doesn’t mean they want to become a rubber stamp of us.  They want the opportunity to grow and become their own self.  Helping doesn’t have to cost financially; true help is reaching out to someone, be they friend or stranger, and putting a smile on their face.

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3 Responses to Reaching out

  1. Leo says:

    I think getting involved with others also requires two things that people hold onto pretty tightly: their own time and vulnerability. People are so driven today that we oftentimes do not stop to look at those around us. I think getting involved to help people in a close-contact manner requires vulnerability, which is tough to give up.

  2. Carol says:

    You are right on both counts. When I said last night that I write for you and Doris, I didn’t mean that I write only for you both. I write these as though I am writing a newspaper column, but seek to write to people who are bright and capable. Don’t take anything personally. I wasn’t even thinking of your trip to Senagal when I wrote “Reaching Out”. Rather, I was thinking of me and how I want to volunteer for something, but don’t know what. I am thinking about volunteering in the public schools helping to teach kids to read, but recognize that that is another committment. I really enjoy having the freedom to do what I want when I want to. As a parent, I think you can understand that. Know that you are at one of the busiest times of your life and do what is a priority to you. As for being vulnerable, it’s okay to be vulnerable at times. At the job, it’s totally impossible for you to be vulnerable, as it is for anyone, no matter the job. But to always be invulnerable is as impossible as always being vulnerable. Reminds me of the old saying, “Everything in moderation, nothing in excess.”

  3. Doris says:

    The last sentence in this post reminds me of something I heard long ago and far away at a Mary Kay event (Queenie's installation as a director, maybe?), "If you see someone without a smile, give them yours!" I think of that often and follow the advice at every opportunity.

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