Sunday I asked our community why, even though we believe in living a life of compassion, we seldom actually engage in helping others in practical ways.
And the one reason on which I focused was the misunderstanding that in order to help others, you, yourself, need to be all healed up.
While I think that specific misunderstanding is common, it’s not the reason that most-often holds me back. No, what usually keeps me from helping my neighbor is the nearly exhausting list of needs represented in my own home.
I got lost in this daydream a few days ago: I was living in the country and my job was to care for my family. Just my wife and three kids.
In the daydream, this little community of 5 feels very manageable. But then I remember days and months and years when the needs within my own family were overwhelming.
And then I start thinking of parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, and, of course, in-laws. And, for me, this is a group of well-over 100 people. That’s a whole lot of needs.
Then, at least for me, there’s the church. Several dozen families just like mine: full of needs.
On one hand I think, “This is too much need. I don’t have room for any more. I can’t help.”
On the other hand I think, “That’s also a whole lot of support. More than most will ever know. How can I not help?”