How can I help her?
Artur’s simple question transformed my day. My problem was nothing to do with him. I was not booked on his coach, I was not travelling to where he was going. He did not know me and the mistyping my email address when making a late night coach booking was not his fault. But I was a passenger in need of help, worried that I’d have to waste resources buying a new ticket through my own carelessness and he decided to go the extra mile, taking time to phone his boss to ask the simple question “how can I help her?” The boss had a plan but it needed him to help. He was under no obligation to take me, I had no ticket, but chose to give me a lift and went the extra mile by carrying my bags to person who could help and waited until I had a new ticket in hand, free of charge.
How might our days be transformed if we journeyed through them with eyes open to our brothers and sisters and our lips and ears open to God- how can I help my brother or sister? – being willing to go the extra mile when we hear the boss’s response?
My two days on the boat have been blessed by rich encounters with people who heard or saw us in need and asked how they could help. Caz’s parents who drove us to the boat, Navigators of Faith who provided breakfast for weary travellers, the skipper of Rocket who heard our cry for help on Channel 16 and towed us to where we could anchor safely, Dave and Andy who towed us to the marina. And in every encounter there was not a hint of resentment about the diversion or cost of giving of help, not the remotest suggestion that we had we had been stupid, no air of superiority or benevolence, no request for payment or hint of returning the favour in the future, simply the generous acts of kindness freely offered with good humour, rich conversation and grace. Daily echoes of Gods generous gifts, freely offered. Each one transforming a challenging situation for good.
The simple question “How can I help him or her? Is simple but can transform days and lives. The parallel question “how can I be helped” is even more transformational because it requires me to own my weakness, lose my power and receive what others are willing to offer. To be in their debt.
How might our days be transformed if journeyed through them with hearts open to our weakness and need and a spirit of vulnerability prepared to ask God for what we need and open to the brother or sister who offers to respond. That requires humility, a giving up of power and control but sheer joy when we see the boss’s response. For many of us a far more difficult journey.
How can I be helped?
In our weakness and humility we discover Gods strength and the generosity and kindness of strangers.
Prayers for Andy as he seeks to fix the engine and complete the journey to Weston Super Mare and for Caz and Howard as they continue the shore based commitments.