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Can you help?Too Scared To Help

A friend ran seven miles to Castlewood Park and along the way dropped his water bottle. He figured once he got to the park he would find something to put water in. Scoping out his options he spied what appeared to be a track club group with a cooler and several Gatorade bottles. He walked up, explained his dilemma and asked if they could help him with a container. They all sort of looked around and refused to help him. Searching for another option, he sighted a trash can and began to root through it for something to put water in. A fellow came up and asked what he was doing, but did not help him, to which my friend telling the story smiled and said, "I guess I didnít look destitute enough."

Well he did eventually get help, and his story reminded me of a time when I had been running at Creve Coeur Lake Park. I ran one loop, stopped at my car to refill my bottle and before I knew it I had locked my keys and phone in the trunk. I walked over to a lady who had just got into her car and after she rolled her window down about an inch, I explained my problem and asked if I could use her phone to call for help. She said no.

Not ScaredItís odd and unsettling to have an immediate need and a person who could help you declines. I donít think people who refuse are bad, I figure theyíre scared. Afraid that by helping a stranger they will be taken advantage of or worst hurt. The potential danger is often a barrier to goodwill. Physical harm and loss of property are very real, but there is another risk that often keeps me from helping. Let me explain. One weekend during worship service our Pastor spoke of anxiety and panic. At the end of service he asked people suffering to come down front for prayer and after we sang a song, he invited those of us who had experienced this to Be Bravecome down and place our hands on their shoulders and pray for them. I have known post-traumatic stress and yet I paused for a moment debating if I should go down. All sorts of reasons popped in my head as to why I shouldnít. I chose not to listen and walked on down. It was a small thing really; reaching out, praying and yeah even though I squeezed my eyes shut tight tears still escaped. Guess what? It was wonderful; I shared and helped in a little way. Now why did I have all these reasons to say no to this simple request? It all boils down to what am I really risking, if itís potential embarrassment, pride or a feeling that donít have enough to offer, well thatís not acceptable. If itís not dangerous, then itís up to me to decipher the risk and remember what it feels like to be the one in need.

"May your choices reflect your hopes. Not your fears." Nelson Mandela