MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “help”

The sound of gloom

https://st2.depositphotos.com/3431221/8878/v/950/depositphotos_88783892-stock-illustration-guitar-player-vector-silhouette.jpg

There was a poor person in the metro the other day playing a famous song on his guitar. He was dressed decently. Wasn’t begging really. His voice was imbued with feeling. He sounded almost professional. He sang from the heart and that was evident. It made you want to give him something. Some change to show your appreciation for the way he was striving to make a living.

Perhaps he could have searched for a ‘regular’ job. But everyone knows these are hard to find in a country where ‘crisis’ has become an everyday term.

At least he was giving melody to a train ride. And you could see the passengers actually stop looking at their phones for a minute and letting their mind wander at his tune.

You were almost mesmerised to give him spare change. Coins whose possession to you may not have made a difference. Perhaps it was the cost of your daily cup of coffee. But to him it was a measure of appreciation. Of the fact that there were people out there who liked what he offered and who were willing to grant a helping hand.

There are many people who leave aside their dignity and in their despair decided to ask strangers for help. There are the ones who feel outcast from society. Whom we look at demeaningly and most often choose simply to ignore. There are the ones who cause controversial discussions of whether they are worth our pity or our ignorance, of whether they are choosing the easy road of begging instead of searching for a ‘real job’.

Everyone we meet carries their own story, their own burdens, their own heavy loads. But it is people like these that make you realise all that you have and how little you appreciate how lucky you in fact are. Because what you perceive as obvious and ‘normal’ is not so for many others.

Squashing an irritating bug

https://www.emtecpestcontrol.com/includes/images/file/CartoonSwattingFly_14001265.jpgHere it is. To some it seems small and minute. Of minimal importance. But to those who pay attention to everything, it is severe. It is conspicuous enough to annoy you. And it constantly appears when it least should.

It is that black bug that taints your pristine white clothes.

That annoying third person in a perfect couple’s relationship.

The loose screw that causes everything to fall apart.

That hail that ruins your happy mood.

It is constantly there. Looming like a cloud full of rain, ready to overshadow your sunshine.

Sometimes, however, it is not enough for you to act alone to fix it. Sometimes you need the support to squash it. To make everything right again.

Because we are in this world alone, but a helping hand is always welcome.

Napoleon and the limits of DIY

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/9a/22/3b/9a223bbc2b866c93f1b13d8e931f2527.jpgIt was Napoleon who said that “if you want a thing done well, do it yourself”. And we’ve all had that instance when your mother asks you to do something, then you ask so many questions while attempting to do it, that she finally sighs and remarks this exact same Napoleonic quote. (If you haven’t experienced this, you just probably never heard the last part).

Wanting to do things yourself is not necessarily a bad thing. It may be considered part of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Or even as a sign of insanity. But as they say, there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Or rather, as Seneca put it, “there is no great genius without some touch of madness”. Humor apart, we can’t all do everything on our own constantly. It is physically impossible.

And just imagine what it would be like if everyone kept what they know to themselves. Sure, it is good competition, but wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Or at least continue your legacy when you’re gone? After all, the greatest teachers, those who inspire us the most and leave their mark on us, are indeed the ones who want to transmit upon us their knowledge.

So, sometimes, you just need to let go, relax, and acknowledge that you are not intended to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Humanity is supposed to be based on understanding and solidarity. If you can do something well on your own, just imagine how great it would be if your power was multiplied.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Help

Bottled Message

Tmessage in a bottlehere Andre was, sitting on his luxury soft blue towel, soaking in the last of the summer sun’s rays and enjoying the massaging feeling of the small white pebbles on his back. Routine would strike him sooner than he could expect and he was determined to make the most of every carefree moment he still had. When he got up to turn around – the secret to sunbathing is to roast on both sides equally – his eyes fell upon a glistening object at the water’s edge. At first, he thought it was a reflection that the waves had caused as they foamed ashore. He got up to quench his curiosity. It was a glass bottle. And yes, there was a message inside.

As Andre uncorked the storm-tossed bottle, he carefully unrolled the yellowish creased paper inside. It had four words scribbled on it in panic: “Help! SOS! In danger”.

Andre looked across the sea, towards the horizon. It was an unconscious act. Perhaps in his mind he believed he would have seen the shipwrecked letter-writer emerge and he could run (or rather swim) to his/her rescue. But there was nothing out there. The water was tranquil and not even a sailboat was apparent at the coastline.

Andre took out his tablet – because everyone has one form of technology or other available at all times, even at the beach – and began to search the news for shipwrecks. It took him a while, given the increased incidents of Middle Eastern migrants risking their very lives and abandoning everything in search of a better life in a new continent. But he finally found it. It was a small boat cramming 200 migrants. It had been found just hours after it sunk having completed over half of its perilous journey. All of its passengers, downtrodden humans just like everyone else, with a story of their own to tell if they could, men in their thirties and forties, women who seemed so much older than they really were and children who had had the innocence of their childhood stolen away from them, all perished at sea. All that remained as a reminder of their existence was this scrawny paper.

Andre got up. His holidays had just ended. He spent the rest of his time before returning to work, and as much free time as he had after that, volunteering in shelters and centres that were constructed especially for people who had nothing. Not necessarily for refugees who had come from afar, but even for people in his own country who were struggling to survive. A message in a bottle had changed his entire perspective. If he could have the same influence on someone else, imagine how much change could be brought about.

Also part of Daily Prompt: SOS

It could always be worse

RobotWhen Charles brought home the robot, Annabelle was ecstatic. As soon as she saw the life-size box in which it came, with the metallic grey cover and the white plastic ribbon with which it was gift-wrapped, she knew things were never going to be the same. And she was right.

Charles worked long and weird hours. He felt guilty for leaving his wife alone at home all this time, so to make up for it and offer her some company, he brought home the latest technological wonder that was available in the market. They had just moved to Singapore and everything still seemed light-years ahead of their South-Western hometown. He knew Annabelle would appreciate it.

Annabelle knew nothing could replace a human presence, a physical being with whom she could chat, laugh or simply sit with and look at the window. But a robot might also help her around the house. It was already too big for the two of them and it required constant care.

She considered naming the robot, but feared becoming too attached. So she didn’t. Secretly though, she did think of him as “Rob”.

The first couple of days felt as though she were treading on unknown waters. Having something like this, with a mind of its own, was unprecedented.

Soon, though, she discovered that, like everything, even a robot has its perks.

This one would move behind her and tap her back. Mostly when she wasn’t looking. And when she wasn’t in the room with it, it would yell “gal”, for some inexplicable reason. Annabelle made Charles look into its nuts and bolts, but he found no fault. Neither could the service responsible for the robot.

As much as Annabelle tried to ignore it, it only seemed to become worse. And it was all accentuated by the fact that she kept discovering even more annoying little habits of “Rob”.

One day, she programmed the robot to help her vacuum clean the house. Guests would arrive that evening and Annabelle wanted everything to be perfect for the dinner they would host.

It all started out wrong, though. Instead of plugging in the vacuum cleaner, “Rob” plugged in its own finger causing a power outage in the entire neighbourhood. That lost them two hours.

He would then chase after Annabelle every time she left the room, shouting “gal” and tapping her back at the same time. So much, that it was almost impossible to do any work with this robot around. She locked it in the broom closet, but “Rob” broke the door and escaped, bringing a wooden broom with it, which it now used to tap Annabelle’s back with. At one undefinable moment, Annabelle tripped over the broom, fell onto the vacuum cleaner and onto “Rob”. It started yelling “gal” non-stop now. There was nothing she could do to get it to stop. Charles was too busy to help, but he had suggested plugging its finger in again, in the hope it might do the trick. But it didn’t. It just lit up its eyes blue. It’s lucky it wasn’t red, thought Annabelle, then it would surely look like the devil’s spawn.

She was so upset by the entire episode and the fact that she was wasting so much time with this robot, that instead of making her life easier, it simply made it more frustrating and difficult. That is when she decided to do it.

She took the broom and beat the robot to pieces. It was all screws, components and broken pieces now. She took the vacuum cleaner and sucked it all up. She didn’t need a robot-helper. It had been more of a nuisance than anything.

An hour later, she had completed the preparations and even had the food in the oven.

Just then, she heard a mumbling from the broom closet. As she approached, she trembled as she heard “gal, gal, gal”. Could it be? How had this monstrous contraption resurrected? She opened the door and saw…nothing. Just to be safe though, she took the entire vacuum cleaner out to the garbage. Charles could get her another. Not a robot. A vacuum cleaner. She preferred to be more tired and get things done in twice the time, than have such a horrible pest on her head haunting her every move.

It seems whatever you do or think, there is always something worse.

Why do you stray away?

cute stray dogWhat draws a person into becoming a volunteer? (An actual volunteer and not a person who is expected to do professional work without getting paid in kind or acknowledgement.) A volunteer for a cause. Deciding to invest time and energy into something that is important. Like for example, entertaining sick children, playing board games with old people, or taking care of animals found injured and abandoned. It takes strength to do something beyond your own interest. And it is a sad fact that fewer people today choose to do so.

Every day there are tens of animals left in the streets to fight for their survival. People who loved the idea of having a puppy but when it grew up, they decided it’s too much trouble, entails too many expenses, and the kids who were supposed to “play” with it have now found a new gadget that consumes their time. So the apparent solution for some, is to just drop it off and drive away. “It will find a way to fend for itself”.

Hunters adopt Pointers simply for the sake of that season when they wish to engage in the “thrill” of crawling within the bushes and ambushing small, defenseless creatures, because “it is fun” and “it is a hobby”. One in fact that has royal roots – but that is another story. But throughout the rest of the year, these dogs are often left in appalling conditions, locked up in cages outside, with scarce food because according to some that will create a greater appetite that will make them better hunters, and the worse part, if they get sick they are left to perish.

bigstock-stray-kitten-sitting-on-the-gr-18946910As for cats, these tend to reproduce generously, something which frequently causes the discontent of the neighbourhood, as little felines run around house to house constantly searching for food. And in their attempt to stay out of the human hand that seeks to domesticate or punish them, cats habitually end up under some (race)driver’s wheels in the middle of the road.

If only there was some sort of way that these animals could be protected, while at the same time appeasing the neighbourhoods’ request for quiet and stray-free areas.

Animal shelters try to offer some help. But there is little to do if you are fighting on your own. A young couple in Athens set up on their own an animal shelter located in a large field in the suburbs of Attica. They currently offer care to over 100 dogs and on a daily basis issue calls for adoption of cats and dogs alike. Facing huge financial difficulties in supporting this shelter – often at the expense of their own comfort –, they demonstrate their love to these animals (all of whom they name) by refusing to give up on them when everyone else does. The lady described the tender story of how one Pointer was abandoned at their shelter as the previous owner was about to put her down because she had developed a sort of bulking tumour on her chest. Yet after months of tender, love and care, the swelling retreated and the dog was now a joyful, energetic, barking normal dog. One that had almost been killed for no reason.

There are so many people out there who maltreat animals”, she tells me. “And what do these sweet creatures want? Just some love and affection”.

Just recently, in Cyprus, a small stray dog was thrown into a cardboard crusher by two hotel employees “because it was irritating the customers”. The dog did not survive. But just a few weeks later, the story has already been forgotten.

It is strange how we can so easily let go when it does not concern humans. Yet these animals often offer to us much more than some humans ever can. Unconditional love, loyalty, understanding, to name but a few. All you have to do is look into the eyes of a stray to see reflected in them the magnitude of its soul – that despite having suffered so much because of humans, it still has not given up on them. Maybe it is time to return the trust and do something for them in return. Something that goes beyond our own selfish interests for someone who is silently pleading for our help.

Help in need and in deed

charity1It is often said that you never truly appreciate something until you no longer have it. And that is true for a range of things: from material possessions to life itself. It is only when you are found at the needy end of the circle of life when you really even begin to understand the importance of having, of giving and of helping each other. Charities understand that well. And acknowledge it for that matter. And it is why people should learn to appreciate them more, to help them and to contribute in whatever way possible. Because they not only need donors but also volunteers. People who have the courage to deal with these situations on a daily basis. And who will assist such operations. To help them help others. Because that is what they do. Usually without bureaucracy or administration. No added burden. Just aid. In some way, it is like something Lincoln said (in a different context but still applicable): help from the people, by the people, for the people.

It is stunning and quite tragic at how countries that for so long projected to the outer world an image of prosperity, affluence and plenty have now resorted to charities, appeals and pleas for help in order to feed and clothe their people. And when you witness the poverty, deprivation and hardships that exist, you consider yourself lucky you have clothes in your closet and food in your fridge. When people go ashamed, with tears in their eyes to ask for help, when they feel their pride being trampled over by a state that doesn’t seem to care, you consider yourself fortunate for all you have.

Help is needed much more than it is given. And those in need greatly outnumber those that offer help. Not those that can, but those that will. For the rich that would donate to the poor are often few and usually for their own selfish gains. But there are some that do go out and buy things simply to give them away to the less fortunate. With no gains and no self-interest in mind. Just the satisfaction of offering a helping hand. It is people like these the world needs. People who will help their fellow citizens no matter what the cost. Who acknowledge what it means to have nothing and to alleviate the suffering caused by factors beyond their control. To see the faces of children light up as they receive a toy, even if it is used. After all, isn’t that what the world should be striving to save? The future? Our children? Our hope?

Post Navigation