A homeless man there on the street
Too ashamed to ask for a bite to eat
Cars pass under and over the bridge he sleeps beneath
But he is not your responsibility
A young mother struggling on her own
Her friends and family left her all alone
Now she doubts her own capability
But she is not your responsibility
A friend left stranded in the middle of the night
All that she needs is a simple ride
But she acted so irresponsibly
And she is not your responsibility
A child lost and searching for his mother
Surely he will find help from another
That he might be kidnapped seems beyond probability
And he is not your responsibility
A loved one at the end of the rope
Just trying not to lose all hope
Emotions buried under a cloak of invisibility
Still, she is not your responsibility
If not your responsibility, then who?
Is there absolutely nothing that you could do?
Just step outside yourself long enough to see
Is love not everyone's responsibility?
Listen to my heart, friend, "It's going to be okay. You're going to be okay."
Those powerful words are from a blog post by Becky Thompson entitled What You Probably Need to Hear the Most Right Now. Sometimes all it takes is hearing those words from someone else to make it all seem a little less overwhelming and to lighten a person's worries, burdens, and fears. You can read the full article here if I have not already shared it with you: http://www.scissortailsilk.com/2014/07/21/what-you-probably-need-to-hear-the-most-right-now/
We have all been in a position at some point in our lives when the kindness and compassion of another makes all the difference in the world. Life can become overwhelming in a heartbeat. At any given time, anyone can experience moments of fear, frustration, desperation, pain, and intense heartache. It is during such times that words of encouragement, a hug, or an ear to listen mean so much more.
When the world around a person seems to be closing in more and more every day and surviving is nothing more than going through the motions, one learns quickly why people are so opposed to swallowing their pride to accept charity. When people respond to knowing one is in need with half-hearted offers to assist only to let it be known just how perfunctory the offer really was when irritation shows and subtle comments about inconvenience are made, one learns to feel like a burden and ashamed to ask for anything.
On the other hand, when a total stranger, not even from the same town, happens to be jogging past a young pregnant woman walking her children to the store for food because her husband has been arrested for child support he could not afford to pay, her electricity is off, and she has no car stops to ask if she is okay and lets her know she is a good mother, it can bring a woman to tears. When that same stranger spends a couple hundred dollars to make sure the woman's babies have Christmas, a woman learns to be humble, but grateful for the blessings of earthly angels.
When people that do not even know the full story judge harshly and those that know only part of it turn away, one learns to see great value in compassionate hearts that see the person behind the situation. One learns to be eternally grateful for those that choose to make someone else their responsibility, if only for a moment in time.
Ultimately, everyone is responsible for his or her own happiness, despite circumstances. Everyone is also responsible for making changes for the better, if possible. But it takes great strength to do so when the path is long, winding, and often lonely. Struggles may seem never-never-ending. Hope and faith may wane from time to time. Intellectually knowing one is still of value - even knowing it in one's heart - is different than hearing someone else confirm it. Knowing things eventually become less overwhelming is different than hearing words of encouragement to hang in there. How we respond to those around us has great power.