I was dropping Molly off at school one day last year. Normally, the principal would be out front, opening car doors and greeting children as they entered the building. This day, however, a woman I had seen around but didn’t know was the welcoming committee.
When I asked Molly who she was, she couldn’t give me a name, but she did offer a job description.
“I think she helps people who are having trouble,” she said.
In the context of an elementary school, that could mean any number of things. Academic, social, physical, behavioral—you name it, some kid in the building probably needs help with it.
But Molly’s insightful words got me thinking about the people who have helped me when I was having trouble. That very week, in fact, a concrete-cutting crew had been in my house when after-school pick-up time rolled around. The workers were at a critical point in the project and I couldn’t leave, so I hurriedly texted a friend for help. Not only did she open her home to Lilly after school, but she also offered to pick up Molly at a completely differently school—one that none of her own children even attended.
I was touched by my friend’s kindness. But when she brought both girls home later, she thanked me for asking her to help. She knows what it’s like to be the one needing help, she told me, and she likes to pay it forward.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that helpfulness seems to be a defining trait among people I hold dear. It’s not something that comes so naturally to me, but many around me—friends, parents, siblings, my own husband and children—have this gift in spades. And their willingness to use it—sometimes at a moment’s notice, and even to help someone I love—has inspired me to up the ante on my own acts of service.
Psalm 121 makes it clear that our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. But often He sends that help through people—people who look just like you and me.
So if you’re a helper, keep helping. You may not fully realize it, but what you do is important, necessary and hope-filled.
If you’re not a natural helper, pay attention to the people around you who always seem to be pitching in and learn from their examples.
And if you’ve been on the receiving end of some kind of practical assistance, say thank you. Not just when the help happens, but when it comes to mind later—even much, much later.
You never know. Your future words of thanks might mean as much to the person who helped you as their kindness meant to you.