Mar 8, 2011

how come?

have i done any good in the world today? 
not nearly as much as the world needs. 

it started out as a really great day...
as i jogged home today from a lovely outing in hyde park, i cried and cried and cried - so thankful for an able body, albeit ample, that i dislike and say mean things to all too often.  7 minutes before said crying, i was happily engrossed in conversation with matt's parents, on a busy sidewalk.  people passed us on this unusually sunny day, while a shabby old woman sat in a wheelchair. she looked like she had wandered off from a nursing home. she looked homeless. disheveled.  with dirty hair. rotten teeth. frayed and torn clothing. nothing but worn house slippers on her feet.  

her hands were tightly clasped in her lap, a crippled position that i've seen before. grandma alda suffered a stroke that left one side of her body useless in the remaining years of her life. i don't remember much about what grandma said or did with me that year she lived with us, but i remember her left hand clenched and immovable. i watched as this old woman with crippled hands and weak legs scooted herself down the sidewalk, unable to use her hands to turn the wheels.  she advanced maybe 10 feet in as many minutes, straining and pulling and struggling. 

in case you didn't get the memo, i'm naturally selfish. 
think to self: does she need help? 
rationalize to self: she's done this before. surely someone would help her if she needed it. it's a beautiful day, she probably likes the exercise. (i'm really good at rationalizing) 

and i continued with my conversation. 
but my little heart just couldn't take it. 
the homeless man who i didn't help. (remember that story?) 
the sunday school lesson i hypocritically taught. (on the golden rule)
the promise i made NEVER to be too embarrassed to help again. 
the time i lugged too many suitcases through too many tube stations and staircases and ended in tears at the Heathrow airport, hoping ANYONE would help me. 

so i worked up the courage and asked her if i could give her a lift. 
and what do you think that little old woman did? 
she sighed the biggest sigh her little body could, fell back into the wheelchair, and thanked me over and over all the way to the newspaper stand. 

that poor old woman. 
no one to help her get her newspaper. or take a bath. or get dressed. 
why is my first instinct to not help? 
how come i feel sheepish when offering someone a service? 
how come i hate these legs that can walk and jog?

i'm grateful for some real good examples in my life.  (because sometimes THE EXAMPLE is a hard standard to hold yourself to. of course HE could do it, He's perfect.)
kristen has dedicated her career to helping other people. kate and tim financially support children in less developed countries (and NEVER talk about it). and there isn't an old person on this planet allene won't deliver a meal to, take to the doctor, or visit.

so i'll try to do some more good in the world and get over my self-motivated, curvy-legged self and stop rationalizing my way to hell! i guess it ended as a pretty great morning too, with a little more gratitude.


nerak said...

for what it's worth, noelle, i think you are one of the most generous people i've met. seriously.

thanks for the post -- it renewed my determination to stop being so selfish and start being more aware of people i can help.

Liz said...

Beautiful. I loved this post.

Stephanie said...

You are a good person and feel so deeply Noelle. Thanks for sharing your experiences - they are so true and helpful.

Alisha Stamper said...

oh noelle.

what a breath of honesty.

the perspective is so striking. and your way with words. i love how much you love Him. thank you for sharing your humility as you try to be better. it affected me.

Alisha Stamper said...

p.s., i just realized my comment could be taken as so rude! eek! I'm kinda choked up. I wanna be better, too, just wanna make that clear. :)

noelle regina said...

alisha it wasn't rude AT ALL - please don't worry. i'm still sad for my shabby little lady friend.

Ashley said...

Thanks for this. You inspire me.

Liz said...

Guess what? I read this post in the lesson I taught to my Laurels yesterday. And I don't even know you. Please don't be creeped.