Lots of people follow the crowd…go along with their peers. If all their friends are being negative, rude, or disrespectful, then so do they. Everyone, it seems, is out for themselves. Doing things only if they will bring benefit to self. It seems like it is an “I, Me” world.
Still, there are people out there who specifically set out to be different than the rest. People who set aside their own needs and desires in order to do something nice or helpful for others. They are all around you, whether you know it or not. The man who stops to help someone change a flat tire, the the person who assists an elderly person with mobility problem to get up from a chair that is low, or helps a caregiver to transfer a loved one into the car from a wheelchair when they are not feeling well, and obviously to weak to stand easily.
These people usually remain nameless, because we either don’t know them, or we don’t see them do the nice things they do. Or maybe it is because they don’t do it for recognition, but rather because it is the right thing to do. They don’t do it for pay or for fame, but because they care about people. And they don’t even consider themselves to be heroes…but they are.
The funny thing is that each of us has the potential to be that person…to be different. It is a choice each of us can and must make when the opportunity presents itself. When we don’t look the other way when someone needs help, or when we can simply go out of our way to do something nice. And when we get the chance to step outside ourselves, to put others first, to ease someone’s pain, to give help where it is needed…when we get that chance and we take it…we learn what it is to be different.
I had to take my father-in-law to the doctor today for a followup visit after a hand injury. With Alzheimer’s Disease, we cannot leave my mother-in-law home alone, so when we have an appointment where I can’t easily take both of them in, we have someone come in to stay with her. Since her sister, Margee retired, she has been able to come over and sit with her, and often she brings he granddaughter, Stasi along. Stasi enjoys coming for a visit, which is such a blessing.
Teenagers don’t often want to go visit the elderly, much less help out, but Stasi loves coming over to visit my in-laws, and even when I get back with my father-in-law, she is often not really ready to leave. She is always willing to help my father-in-law out, by doing whatever is needed. She has pulled weeds for him, a well as many odd jobs around their house. And this last week, when my niece Machelle was painting window frames, Stasi was right there to help her. Stasi is very simply a very sweet girl, and one who likes to be a blessing.
Stasi, her brother, and her Dad live with her grandmother, Margee, my mother-in-law’s sister. Stasi’s mom passed away in 1998. Stasi helps her grandmother, just like she does my in-laws. She shows a kindness toward others that would make her mother very proud of her. It is hard to lose a parent at any age, but when it is at such a young age, very often life goes on without really missing that parent, but Stasi has never forgotten. Perhaps it is because of grandparents and her dad to keep her in remembrance of what a special woman her mother was. Whatever it is, Stasi has never forgotten and strives to live a life that would make her mom proud of her.
As I said, Stasi often helps out her grandmother, who is on oxygen and has a hard time getting around. It is a monumental task for a young girl to take on, but as I am finding with Stasi, it is one that she does well with. And yet, she still takes pleasure is coming over to my in-law’s house, her great aunt and uncle, and help out with whatever they need. She is a wonderful young lady, as anyone who knows her will attest.
It takes a village to take care of the elderly at home, and the longer I am in this situation, the more I have learned to notice and appreciate those who happily and willingly give of their time, resources, and mostly themselves to make the later part of someone’s life be a little bit better. It is a gift that can never be repaid. How do you thank someone for their kindness and sacrifice in the service of others? You can’t. It is impossible. All you can do is hope that in some small way you have made them aware that you see their kindness and sacrifice…that it has not gone unnoticed…that while you can never repay, you most certainly do appreciate all they do.