A Helping Hand
I looked around the crowded train carriage.
No empty seats. I swayed and wobbled, trying to keep my balance,
propped up on my sticks. I peered around the passengers angrily,
willing one of them to give up a seat. But no. They continued
reading their papers, staring into space, hiding behind their
usual passive Japanese faces. Wait! One man was squirming and
looking decidedly uncomfortable and finally stood up to give
me his seat. I flopped down gratefully and turned to thank him.
He moved away into the crowd, not wanting to draw attention to
himself. He had only one arm.
Of all the people in the train carriage
of 50 or so, he was the only one to give me a seat. Now he was
the one standing, swaying and struggling to keep upright with
only one hand to steady himself and hold onto the strap above.
Who had the greater need, I wondered?
Although this incident happened a number
of years ago when we were missionaries in Japan, it has left
a profound impression on me.
More recently here in Hamilton, I was
sitting in my car outside the Mall wondering who I could ask
to lift my wheelchair out. An older lady tapped on the window
and said, "Would you like me to get your wheelchair out
for you?" Startled I replied, "Yes please" She
energetically lifted it with ease and said, "Oh it's a light
one, isn't it? I do this all the time for my husband who's in
a wheelchair." I was surprised again and said, "And
on the very day you come out shopping on your own, you have to
get my wheelchair out." We both laughed and off she went.
She was doing what came naturally and could instantly recognise
and meet the need.
Another time a young father lifted the
wheelchair out of the boot for me and we talked for a very long
time as he unburdened his concern over his little daughter. She
is very heavily disabled and uses a wheelchair. I listened to
him with an understanding of his situation. Sharing his heart
eased his pain for a little while.
Pain, external or internal, has a way
of programming us to be sensitive to the needs of others. That
pain could be our own or the unbearable pain of watching a loved
one suffer. It matters that our hearts are moved by compassion,
that we identify with the hurt of another and that we rise above
our own limitations to reach out. To extend ourselves for the
well-being of others has a way of bouncing back upon us. We in
turn are blessed and encouraged.