Today I had cause to try to help a neighbour who had got herself into a bit of a personal crisis, now on reflection, I see how much I have changed!
I was brought up to mind my own business, not to interfere unless asked & basically leave people to their own devices. I followed this rule for much of my life, but now realise that the flip side can be not helping where needed. My family were the non demonstrative type, emotions weren’t freely shown, affection was almost a dirty word. I grew up starved of physical touch. There was little doubt that as children we were loved, but were brought up to be seen & not heard – something that I failed miserably. I was a thinker, a questioner, ‘highly strung’, timid yet volatile when pushed too far. Far distanced from the perfect child!!!
Married & divorced three times, with 5 sons, there wasn’t a lot of ‘touchy- feely’ in our household, once the children had outgrown babyhood. Physical touch, outside of the bedroom was always a difficult concept for me & I have struggled to overcome the fear of touching others. However,once divorced, I realised how important friendship & physical contact is, so have worked hard to overcome this very British hang- up! Thankfully I no longer have any qualms about hugging a newcomer, or comforting someone, but not everyone feels comfortable with open shows of friendship, so I try to be mindful, before lunging in for a hug!
As I said at the beginning of this blog, I found myself in a situation, that a few years ago would have sent me into panic.
I found a neighbour, collapsed in our building. Previously I would have called for help, the excused myself, hoping that someone else would deal with it, but not anymore. Without any hesitation, I immediately went to her aid, and was soon joined by 2 other people. The person in question wasn’t really hurt, her collapse being caused by a long standing issue. Sitting with her , keeping her spirits up, while we waited for the ambulance was no problem whatsoever. She is a lovely, cheery lady, so staying with her was no effort. However once the paramedic had arrived & done the vital checks, it was suggested that she be taken to hospital, something that she steadfastly refused! We tried to reason with her, but to no avail, she wanted to go back to her flat & be left alone. This being her right, she was assisted to her property, while the paramedic concluded his paperwork.
For me, how I reacted next, shows me how far in my spiritual journey I have come. Although still refusing assistance, it was obvious that she needed some reassurance & help. Instinctively I knelt beside her & put my arm around her shoulders, pulling her a little closer, just to give her strength. As her tears came, I held her hand & seemed to know just what to say. We talked things through & thankfully she decided to accept the idea of a hospital admission. I need to stress that I wasn’t alone in helping her, the paramedic & my carer played an equally, if not more important part. Once the ambulance had come, between us we comforted her, sorted out her necessities & waved her off, wishing her a speedy recovery. Just as she was being wheeled out, I again took her hand & gave it a reassuring squeeze.
The story in itself isn’t really significant, these things happen everyday to somebody, somewhere. What is significant though, is the ease in which I held & comforted her. I wasn’t forceful, nor, hopefully was I invasive of her space. I held her because she looked like she needed a hug , no more, no less. This lady is merely a neighbour, not someone that I know well. She is very private, I had no idea how she would react to my ‘interference’. But that’s the point. I held her, in a way that came naturally. I didn’t have to think about it, or question myself. She could have reacted badly, or even aggressively, I had no way of knowing, but it didn’t matter!
The ‘Powers that Be’, have granted me the gift of compassion without fear. Many people would have done the same thing automatically, I didn’t do anything special. It was the naturalness of it all that surprised me. I helped without fear, I showed compassion without questioning it. I trusted myself. I showed her that I care, because I do! The ‘old me’ certainly couldn’t have reacted that way, much as I may have wanted to!
Some people are naturally helpful & empathetic – I’ve always been too afraid to show that side of myself. Nurses & good doctors have a natural gift, they ooze patience & care, they instinctively know how & what to say & do. I’m not like that. I’ve always been scared of being judged, of getting things wrong, of getting told off! The little timid child who never grew out of it.
Maybe now, I can finally say that I have overcome that block!
Thank you for reading my words.
until next time, I wish you love & laughter,