This is one of those weeks when there are a lot of people who need help. It follows then that this is one of those weeks when there are a lot of people who want to help but aren’t sure how, or when, or if they can.
Here in Vermont where I live this is certainly true. I spent yesterday carrying buckets of water and mud out of a friend’s basement. But this equation of people needing help and others wondering about if and how to help is also playing out in Chicago and Atlanta and Seattle and Des Moines. Bad things happen every day and everywhere. When do we drop our schedule and go? When do we trust that it is right not to go?
There are times when a need presents itself, and we just act. Because of who is involved or the urgency the matter, it is a no brainer. Most of the time though, taking a moment to pause, to pray, to reflect, can help us discern whether or not we should go.
I don’t know why I continue to be surprised by this, but prayer made a difference for me this week. I was stuck, trying to figure out how to juggle helping neighbors with work and childcare obligations. After spending some time praying, the way just seemed to open. An email came from a friend stating what they needed and when. A neighbor and I figured out how to share childcare. Loaves get multiplied, time extends, and things just work out.
Following call (which this was) always involves a cost. So we were woefully unprepared for our arriving guests last night, and the email box is a doing some flooding of its own. It is a part of the deal.
Another day the leading might lead to a “no.” I don’t believe that all of us are called to attend to all needs all the time. I do believe that in the face of need, each of us in our own way can ask the question: God, do you want me there? If so, will you make a way?