Don’t ask how you can help.

Don’t ask how you can help.

4 years later
4 years ago, my wife and I went though the most devastating moment of our lives. Our son was diagnosed with Duschennes Muscular Dystrophy. I’ve got to admit, it was like getting punched in the gut. We were completely overwhelmed.

Friends very graciously responded with inquiries of:

“Let us know if we can help.” Or “is there anything you need?” Or again : “How can we help?”

“I don’t know!” I could barely breathe, much less think.

At the same time, we still had 3 kids to feed, clothe, and take care of. I needed to take care of my wife. Bills still needed to be paid, the car needed to be filled with gas.

That period of time was one of the toughest of my life. Even revisiting those days while writing this brings the constriction back and the shortness of breath.

I am not lacking in true friends. I am not lacking in relationships. So why was that period of time so devastatingly lonely? What would have made it better?

In retrospect, I can tell you what we needed. We needed someone to take care of our kids. We needed someone to book some counseling sessions and babysit our kids. We needed meals. We needed someone to buy groceries, pay bills, and take the little stresses of life away. We needed someone to think for us.

The life lesson for me? Don’t ask “how can I help?” Think, observe, and then ask specifically.

“John, can I borrow your car?”

And then go change the oil. Look at the tires, see if they need changing.

“Claire, what’s your family’s favorite meal?”

And then make it, buy it and bring it over.

Show up, take the kids, book a restaurant and send your friends out for the night.

Don’t ask how you can help. Just help.

Help me out here. On our Facebook page, maybe add some ideas of other practical thing you could do to anticipate, and then do without being asked.
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