How can I help?

11 Dec 2017
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Today's poem was inspired by a very genuine friend who was proud of how she gave love letters to homeless people. She assured me that these were received well, and that she never gave them money.

I realised, to my shame, that I was horrified by this. She sincerely believed she was doing them good because nobody told them how beautiful they were and how loved.

However, I also realise that I have turned away from friend and neighbour when it was in my power to make a relevant difference.

Instead, I have shared empty words.

So I wrote this poem to myself, and for whomsoever it resonates with.

True to life, when my turn came to need help, many friends said, "If I can help in any way... just let me know." When the right type of help was blisteringly obvious. Appropriate help did not come.

Christmas is not a happy season for all, but it is a grand opportunity to make a significant difference to someone's life.

Thus here is the poem.

"How can I help?" I helpfully said!

They gasped, "I am thirsty."

So I gave them some bread.

...

Then I saw a friend stranded - they had a flat tyre.

So I stopped and I hugged them,

And shared a word to inspire!

...

What of the homeless man exposed to the rain?

Well, I gave him my own ticket

For a cheap flight to Spain!

...

And when it was my turn...

...

I said, "Send reinforcements; we're going to die."

You heard, "Lend me fourpence; we're going to fly."

So you said you'd no change, and instead gave a grin,

Not knowing that I was about to give in.

...

Helping a friend doesn't take the science of a rocket

If your neighbour's in need, put your hand in your pocket.

...

It doesn't cost much to show that you care;

You may well be the answer

To someone's last prayer.

Lex

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Kit

Dec. 11, 2017, 5:34 a.m.

V well put poem thx

Reply

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 7:18 a.m.

Thanks, Kit. x

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 7:19 a.m.

May you know peace in your heart.

Orangeblossom

Dec. 11, 2017, 6:11 a.m.

Thanks Lex. Good poem to begin the week. Hope that you have a good week ahead. All Good Wishes Zareen

Reply

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 7:19 a.m.

Thanks Orangeblossom... it's going to be an interesting one, methinks! May you know peace in your heart.

Sarah yellow rose

Dec. 11, 2017, 9:10 a.m.

Hi Lex, thank you for your blog and poem. It touched me and reminded me of an event. I saw a man sitting in a doorway it was raining and cold. He wasn’t begging. I wasn’t sure what to do, as I didn’t want to offend him. I walked up to him and said, “ You look cold, would you like this to get yourself a tea?” He said thank you. A friend said it only encourages people to beg. I thought, is it up to me to judge or look down on someone in need. I’ve since found out he is homeless. I did what I felt was needed and let him decide what to do. Some people , I noticed gave him food. I think your poem highlights the need to think of others.

Reply

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 12:20 p.m.

...and all the more when we are in pain ourselves. As Moodscopers, we have a unique ability to empathise which I am beginning to value more highly than ever before. Have a great day, Sarah yellow rose.

Mary Wednesday

Dec. 11, 2017, 9:19 a.m.

I remember, when I was in a dark place a couple of years ago, you said to me, "how can I help?" It was the most helpful thing anyone had ever asked me and I think I surprised both of us when I said, "I'd like to meet up." We did, and it was fabulous. Asking "How can I help?" is far more powerful than just, "Can I help?" Then, of course, listening to the answer and trying to fulfil that need if at all possible.

Reply

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 12:21 p.m.

I'm glad they answered your call, Mary Wednesday. That is, indeed a powerful question - especially when harnessed to great empathetic listening skills.

Sue

Dec. 11, 2017, 10:07 a.m.

So well put. So easy to respond with a bit of money when maybe it is time that is needed, I'm a hugger but sometimes practical help is what is needed.

Reply

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 12:22 p.m.

I was thinking, Sue, about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Do you know it? Hugs are really, really important... and yet if someone's basic needs for food and shelter are not met, hugs seem a luxury beyond their ability to appreciate.

Jenny

Dec. 12, 2017, 9:52 a.m.

I've just been reading about Maslow Lex (in a business capacity) and it's so true, whatever the scenario. We all have a need for company, physical contact, connectedness.

The Gardener

Dec. 11, 2017, 12:15 p.m.

Thanks Lex - trying to find an adjective - pithy? Promises, promises (not an adjective). I am coping with absolute terror of the future at the moment - all I really need is courage. People always flocked to my house - yesterday at lunch with old friends (no heating, a pathetic fire, you wear four sweaters) everybody talked about my marvellous parties. They DID ask me to lunch. I don't know how many people say 'we keep meaning to call on you, but we are so busy'. Some of them I've seen gossiping in the street for an hour. Makes your poem poignant? And horribly true. Lots of people pray for me - even our super ex-priest in UK is doubting its efficacy. People at mass at the hospital (usually over 90) say they want to die. I asked the Franciscan monk/priest what answer I should give? He said 'it's not their time, nor their decision'. There is a saying 'life is sweet' but for so many it's not sweet at all. But, I am a proxy grand-mother to our Indian 'daughter'. But how do I get money to her, or a present to the little boy. Face book defeats me (that's how I heard) now I am trying to print scans and get plain paper. Another saying 'Never leave till tomorrow what you can do today' but I find, especially with technology, something goes wrong, you get muddled, technology sulks or gets its knickers in a twist, answer sit in the warm with a Kir and hope we both feel better later. For technocrats, Adobe wants me to PAY to convert a scanned document to Word. Need a huge dose of 'anti-defeatism'! Any ideas Lex? xx

Reply

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 12:27 p.m.

I can have a bash at covering the document if you can email it to me. Caroline is more than welcome to share my email address with you. A small, practical help if I can get it to work (my technology often gets its knickers in a twist too - but I do have a current subscription to Adobe.) As for life being sweet... hmmm, I'm with you on that one! I have found, however, that being open with people, whilst it hasn't delivered me from present evil, it has opened doors to their own honesty... and I promise you, Dear Gardener, there are many people going through the valley at the moment. I can truly feel compassion in a new way - as I do for you xx

The Gardener

Dec. 11, 2017, 1:37 p.m.

Thanks Lex - realised easiest solution is have them photo-copied at the Mairie. Boring analysis. My d-in-law's hyper-criticism and callin me negative is still a splinter which I cannot remove. I analysed the last few years. At the end of 2014 I realised something serious had to be done to cope with Mr G. After consultation with family, friends and professionals I bought an old shop to convert to his needs. It worked beautifully for the unhappily short time I could look after him. Two things happened, Brexit and the collapse of the French housing market - the greatest economist in the world could not have foreseen those events. So I have to convince myself, somehow, that I acted for the best and am STILL acting for the best.

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 2:10 p.m.

Yes! You made the best decisions with the information available to you at the time. We must hold on to that fact. Someone I find inspiring says, "Control the controllables!"

Mary Wednesday

Dec. 11, 2017, 9:21 p.m.

It is indeed a dark time when we believe our prayers are not only unanswered, but unheard. We feel so ineffectual; we want to DO something (but often cannot) and, in my case, I know I am called to pray. I can only hope that one day we will see how those prayers changed things - or stopped things changing. I hope one day we will see the Grace. And - if we don't, I suppose we won't be around to see anything. :)

Lexi

Dec. 11, 2017, 1:03 p.m.

Hi Lex, this post is so timely. I fell deep into the well last week, suicidal thoughts, shutting myself away for the week, cutting off all ties. I don't know how to ask for help when I fall that low. There is a shame there in asking for help and a fear of asking but not getting anything. Anger too, that no one cares, though I wasn't thinking clearly of course in that state. I did manage finally to ask for help and someone heard me. It made all the difference in the world. I wish I lived cliser, so that I could meet up with a few of you, if only not to feel so alone in those dark moments. Xo Lexi

Reply

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 2:13 p.m.

Oh Lexi - I feel so strongly about what you've shared. I phoned the Samaritans today... and the Samaritan sounded more uncertain and depressed than me! Then I phoned a debt-help line and got no answer after 5 minutes. We Moodscopers need one another. Vive Moodscope! xo

The Gardener

Dec. 11, 2017, 7:22 p.m.

Lex, hope you were only doing market research! Had 3 goes at French equivalent in last 3 years - answering service, they are 'overwhelmed' please try later. I remember Samaritan training, practicing our 'answering' voice - very difficult, we were all 'Weybridge' ladies, and our voices could be quite over-bearing - know what Mrs thatcher went through to stop her seeming like a Generalissimo. I have a 'mentor', a psychiatric nurse who tries to find out what I need, and four super nuns, who can only, really, offer prayers - although they have a lot of contact with people where Mr G is now. Just think that Sam might have been on his first call, scared stiff. We had an awful lot of clients who were fantastic actors, and would get us ensnared

Dragonfly

Dec. 11, 2017, 9:31 p.m.

I'm sad to know that you've felt so low Lexi. I have too for quite a while. When I was younger I found it hard to admit to my depression and ask for help. I do now and feel that I'm not heard x

The Gardener

Dec. 11, 2017, 1:43 p.m.

Lexi, there is NEVER shame in asking for help - you are not alone - I've never been really religions, but I know that in the darkest times something has provided a ray of light - and we are here (it does not matter where you live, someone is always 'available' on Moodscope, whether because they are insomniacs or live on the other side of the world. I am not suicidal, but terrified of the future - weather, pain, state of Mr G, increasing money problems - finding that 'ray of light' means asking for help - and, for me, not battling, but curl up somewhere in a warm corner with consoling musing - here's courage and hope to you xx

Reply

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 2:13 p.m.

I agree with the Gardener! xx

Lexi

Dec. 11, 2017, 3:14 p.m.

Thank you both. We do need each other. I think I should make more use of moodscope, so that in my darkest hour I don't feel so alone. xo Lexi

Melanie

Dec. 11, 2017, 3:40 p.m.

Very apt and thought/better action provoking. Thank you!

Reply

Lex

Dec. 11, 2017, 6:28 p.m.

Thanks, Melanie

Sue

Dec. 12, 2017, 10:17 a.m.

There was a prang in the ice outside this morning. Thinking of this, I offered hot drinks and a warm room to wait in. Both were declined but she was very grateful.

Reply

Wyvern

Dec. 12, 2017, noon

So important to ask what someone needs. It may appear obvious to you, but what they need and what you think they need may be quite different. If asked for something you feel you can't provide, be honest and offer something as close to it as possible. And don't be offended if refused.

Reply

LP

Dec. 13, 2017, 12:35 a.m.

Hi Lex, I may have missed you with my late response. It resonated with me. My words are sincere always, but I'm aware that they are really just words. I do what I can there and then or soon after, but tend to find it hard to commit to ongoing arrangements or things in advance as I'm not sure how I'll be and don't want to let people down. I hope you're ok. It's a shame the person at the Samaritans wasn't what you needed at that time. It may have been research, or for you in that moment I'm not sure. I once called them in a crisis. At the end of the conversation, just being asked what I was going to do was all it took to shift things from feeling unable to cope. Interestingly there was a TV programme on this evening about how many ambulance calls are about panic attacks depression and financial or work related stress. There's been a significant increase in recent years following the recession and austerity. Unemployed, retired, public sector and low paid workers, or even just not getting pay rises inline with inflation which equates to annual pay cuts, is worrying a lot of people. It was good to know that it's across the board, but concerning that so many people are feeling low about it. The feeling of being responsible for others can feel like a weight on ones shoulders, but thank goodness that other people do manage when they have to. And thank goodness for people who are prepared to step up and commit themselves to supporting others. I also believe that our bodies and brains tell us when we need to take time out to recover and that's ok. Sending well wishes to you and all. LP xx

Reply

Nicco

Dec. 14, 2017, 1:58 p.m.

I've come to this late, Lex (as usual!) But I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your poem - it is truly an inspiration.

Reply

Melanie

Dec. 14, 2017, 2:40 p.m.

Dear Lexi and Dragonfly, I hear you both and you are in my heart. I am praying for you to be heard and seen by those near you and for you to feel peaceful and content. Lots of love, Melanie xoxo

Reply

Dragonfly

Dec. 14, 2017, 3:17 p.m.

Thank you Melanie x

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