“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I cant change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”
― Charles de Lint
Today I had the fortune to meet a friend with whom I’ve communicated for the last year or two mainly on Face Book, Trevor Eyster. I always find it interesting meeting someone I’ve only known through social media and videos because it always has an unknown quality to it. In this case I felt comfortable very quickly. We had an enjoyable lunch and conversation. Trevor has been working hard at finding ways of turning people into angels Please take a moment and check out the …and then Angels Descended web site for the details.
Anyway Trevor told me a story that I wanted to share with you. It illustrates the different ways the intention to help can manifest and some of the roadblocks along the way. I hope I do the story justice here.
Trevor and Jake were hiking one day in a mountainous area. They saw a guy across a large gap who had climbed up between two waterfalls and had gotten stuck, unable to get down. As Trevor was preparing to call 911, they saw a man come by with a rope. Trevor called to him to help but the guy replied that he had to get home to dinner and since the hiker had gotten himself up there, surely he could get down again. So even tho he had a rope he would just be on his way.
Soon after that some kids came by wanting to know what they could do to help. Trevor asked them if they had a rope but unfortunately they didn’t. Trevor was struck by the contrast of the man who had the means to help but not the willingness and the kids who had the willingness but not the means. He knew that with rope they could easily get the guy to safety
Trevor called 911 and twenty minutes later, a helicopter came by making such a forceful wind that it nearly blew the guy who was stuck off the mountain. Trevor and Jake had to duck for cover to avoid flying debris. The helicopter was followed by several ambulances, police and reduce cars etc. Where all that was needed was a few men and a rope, here almost more damage was done by the very people who might have been able to help out. It struck me as Trevor was recounting this part of the story that this was a pretty typical institutional response. In the case of a happening, the procedure is b with no account taken for any individual situation. We respond this way with no room for critical thinking at all.
So then when you want to help people, how do you avoid either being unwilling, unable or too invested in a rigid response system?