In traffic, it’s almost unheard of to make room for another person; after all I am in a hurry. There are tears in a colleagues eyes but I am too busy to ask what could be going wrong. My neighbor’s child died but we are not that close for me to visit and offer a word of comfort. Experiences of the people in the stories below show that giving does not stop with finances, we can give our time, words of comfort or even a smile.
Funmi (not her real name) says her life is what it is today because of a hug from someone who was not a friend or relative but who saw the tears in her eyes and took the time to listen and with a hug told her that everything would be alright.
“My father was very strict and unapproachable; he was a bad husband to my mother and a terrible father to us. I grew up seeing God as a disciplinarian who was waiting for every opportunity to punish and demean us just like my father so I rebelled in every way I could. The university was an opportunity to be away from my father’s control and I welcomed it wholeheartedly. During my 3rd year in the university, I got pregnant out of wedlock and as far as I was concerned, my life was over. I could not stand the shame and the thought of my father’s wrath. All I could think of at that time was suicide, with different options coming to me on how to accomplish it. After lectures one day, I stayed behind in class because I could not get myself to go back to the hostel. As I was seating there, I kept imagining my father’s reaction when he finds out and what others will say. Unknown to me, one of the people in class noticed that I was crying and came up to where I was seating. When she asked if I was okay, I was so choked up that I could not speak; she helped me up and led me out of the class before others could notice.
When we got outside, I told her my predicament. I told her because I felt like I would explode if I didn’t tell somebody. When I was done, she just put her arms round me and let me cry on her shoulders; I broke down and cried like I have never cried before. When I was done crying, I felt much better and when I learnt she was a Christian, I wanted to know her God because of the compassion she showed to me that day. Her action showed me a face of God that I had not known existed and gave me the strength to make the right decision in my situation.”
[quote cite=’African Proverb’ align=’left’]If you think you are too small to make a difference then you have not spent a night with a mosquito[/quote]
Gbemi’s husband is a laborer and sometimes when he is out of work, the family really struggles to feed. Gbemi has learned to manage at such times but it has been getting more difficult since she had her daughter, Funmi. Funmi is almost 2 years old but Gbemi still breast feeds her because it is cheaper. During one of such trying times, they went for mass on empty stomachs. Gbemi breastfed Funmi and put some water in a bottle for her to drink in church. During mass, they sat in front of a wealthy family with young children, one of the daughters was Funmi’s age and had a big packet of biscuits with her.
According to Gbemi,, “My daughter kept looking at the biscuit and crying but I kept putting my breast in her mouth to make her stop. After some time, the mother told her daughter to give Funmi some and the daughter did. I wanted to cry at the way my daughter quickly collected the biscuit and started eating it. At the end of mass, the woman’s daughter had not eaten most of the biscuit and her mother told her to give my baby the packet. The family left the church and I just sat there, I am sure the woman forgot about it once she left the place but how can I ever forget?? It may seem small but it came at a time I needed it the most.”[quote cite=’Mother Teresa’]“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one” [/quote]
For Nkechi (not real name), the loss of her teenage son was the worst thing that could happen to her. The situation was made worse by the people around her who kept telling her not to cry as tears could not bring her son back. “I heard ‘sorry’ and ‘I can imagine how you feel’ so many times that I was ready to scream” she says. The day after the death, people were still trooping to her house and her sister-in-law was one of them. The in-law came along with a friend who had never met Nkechi before “and in the midst of all the sorry, she leaned over to me and said just cry, shout if you want to but don’t hold it in”. According to Nkechi, it was like someone gave her permission to “feel” and she did. The friend didn’t just stop there, she collected Nkechi’s number from the sister-in-law and every day, she would send her a quote from the bible or an encouraging text to lift her spirits. This woman went out of her way to be compassionate to someone she had never met and helped in her little way to contribute to Nkechi’s healing.
There are needs all around us and we do not have the power to satisfy ALL those needs which can be frustrating sometimes. However, it should not make us fold our arms and hope that God steps in, we can actually be God’s hands and feet in some situations because the blessings He sends our way are there for us to use in blessing others any which way we can. Matthew West sang a beautiful song that really brings this to life, it goes thus:
“I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
…He said, “I did, I created you!!!”
If not us, then who?
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when?
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something”
Please write to us and let us know about helping hands you have experienced, offered or witnessed.[infobox title=’DARE.’]
Take the time to look for a need and take an action, no matter how small to meet that need.Just do it.[/infobox]