Posts Tagged ‘help’

“How are you?” always seems like it should be a simple question, but then, we answer in code, “fine” we say. But what does that mean? I use this code, and still can’t always decipher it. It could mean many different things, but some of the common ones include:

  • Fine.
  • Average day.
  • All is well.
  • Move on.
  • Don’t ask
  • Please notice.
  • I’m not going to make it.
  • Help.

I’ve felt myself wanting to use “fine” as an answer this week. For those trying to crack the code when I use fine it usually means there is a lot going on right now, but I’m not sure you want to hear about it, so unless you notice what I’m trying hard to hide from you I’m not going to tell you about it. …I know…it’s not a great way to be. So I’ve been challenging myself to give real answers.

“How am I? Well, my friend went to jail this week…I’m angry.” It shouldn’t be a big deal, because a lot of my friends are from the jail or go back to the jail, but this one was different. I was caught off guard. I had so much hope.

“How am I? Well, I argued with a homeless man tonight about how often he could shower…I’m wondering what that makes me.” If I didn’t have a shower in my house I’d probably fight for rights to one too, but there are rules for a reason, and everyone can’t shower all the time. I guess it makes me the bearer of bad news, and not a bad person.

“How am I? Well, people are responding to my program…I’m excited.” The mentoring program is going well! We have 3 matches and are hoping to train more mentors soon. I’ve gotten mail back from inmates we’ve never met, but whose kids we were able to buy gifts for though the Angel Tree program. There are other people coming into the jail to help add joy and peace.

“How am I? Well, I’m just me…I’m fine.” I think it’s ok to be fine sometimes, but it’s so important to be honest. It’s easy to feel alone in our issues, but people do care, and God is in control even when all we can see is chaos.

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Sometimes I wish I could only tell you the happy things. I usually tell the stories with happy endings, or at least the happy parts of stories, but what about the days that leave me in tears? What about the really hard stuff.

The problem with helping is that in order to help you have to know. And knowing hurts.

Just the other day I spoke to four people who don’t have money to pay for heat. So they are cold. I spoke to a woman who cried as she told me she would have a glass of water for dinner because she was out of food and money and didn’t have any more food stamps. I spoke to another woman who called and said that her grandkids had been staying with her and so she had run out of food – normally she can live on what the food bank gives her, but because she had extra hungry mouths, she ran out. I heard about cancer, and sickness, and loss. That was all on one day just in the office.

Later that week, as the chaplain in jail, I heard about more. I heard fear, questioning and wonder. I heard women talk about their kids, husbands, boyfriends, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws and even one’s unborn baby. Who they can no longer care for, protect, and help. It’s so scary to be in a situation where everything is out of your control.

It’s hard to know all these things. But I also know that God cares and loves all these people. He sees them as the people they are, and not for the problems the are stuck in, or the problems they have caused. By knowing about these things I can help. Just this week I was able to pray with people and tell them, “It’s worth it,” “hang on,” “keep fighting through,” “don’t give up.” I was able to help coordinate rides to the doctor, get some food delivered, and get people connected with a team who can help to provide heat.

Not everyone I meet gets the help they need, but it’s worth knowing the needs are out there so we can keep fighting to provide the solutions. Jesus was a problem solver, but He didn’t just take away all the world’s problems. He shared God with people. That’s what we should do too. As we meet the physical needs that we can, we should also be loving people with Jesus love. Because ultimately, He is the one who can bring healing to their souls. Look at the people around you, one or many of them may be in serious need, and just not know how to tell you.