Monday, November 14, 2011


Over the course of the last eighteen days, I've shared some insights into the mind and heart of a soldier who returned to Iowa this past July after nine months of deployment in Afghanistan.  His name, for purpose of confidentiality, is PV2 Pete.  During these times, almost three weeks now, I've grown to appreciate in a different manner, what my son went through.  And is going through.  Pete's been pretty forthright with me....and some of that is information that I can not and will not share.  It's just too personal and in some cases it's downright graphic.  What I have and will continue to share with you is the struggles he's had in coming back to "normal".   

Last week, Pete went to meet the Care Core Director at his church.  His need?  An ear, a person although not a counselor, that he could confide in.  By his assessments, it went about as well as he could have wished for.  He has plans for another get together later on this week. 

As Pete awaits that second meeting, he made an observation he wanted to share with me.  "Help can come in so many forms", he pronounced.  "I'd been looking for that home run, so to have everything fall in place.  Maybe even have someone supply all the answers at once.  Little did I realize what help looks like and when it will come.  Let's put it this way, my attitude, my approach, my understanding is far, far different than one week ago", he said.  "And", he said, "I have you to thank".  "Me", I responded.  "What did I say?" 

"Do you remember saying to me, that if someone asks to help and they don't know what to do, tell them to keep their eyes and ears open"?  "Yeah, sure do", I answered back.  "Well that piece of advice was the best  I ever could have gotten.  Not ten minutes after you told me that, I ran into an old high school buddy and the dialogue you laid out, took place.  I have a job interview tomorrow, thanks to you". 

Our conversation led me to think about the "help" process more.  And here's what I've come up with via some much needed HELP from Rick Boxx, an internationally recognized author.

Have you ever had a time in your life when someone took a moment to encourage you, or give you some needed advice?  Five or ten minutes of time invested in another person can seem insignificant to the one supplying the support; it may even seem like a bit of an imposition at the time.  But it could prove to be very significant-perhaps profoundly so-to the one on the receiving end.  An old friend, someone I had not seen or talked with for a long time, reminded me of this important reality at a gathering recently. 
This man, a fraternity brother of mine in college, and I-after years without contact, had an occasion to visit following the memorial service for a mutual friend.  This friend from the past made a point of pulling me aside to express how much he appreciated the assistance I had given him years before, at a time when he was going through a stressful and painful divorce.  "It was a very difficult time for me", he confided.  "I was confused and uncertain how the finances were going to work out.  You gave me advice that saved me a lot of heartache and money, more than you will ever know.  If you ever need anything, just call".

This conversation took me by surprise, primarily because in all honesty, I did not remember helping this friend-although I must have based on his comments.  How ironic, an event that was not even stored in my personal memory bank, but yet its impact had obviously been significant enough that years later he would recall it and feel compelled to bring it to my attention. 

It is interesting how moments that hold little meaning for us, may turn in be another person's salvation,  in one way or another.  In the workplace, we have countless opportunities for meaningful interaction.  We can choose to willingly and intentionally develop relationships, or we can pass by without caring for others.  I have found it a consistent and universal principle that when you invest yourself by giving time and energy into the lives of others, you will reap a bountiful harvest.   

Help can come when you least expect it

Proverbs 12:25 presents this powerful truth:  "Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad".  If you happen to observe someone who seems anxious, distraught or obviously burdened, try making a point to stop and pass along a kind word.  It doesn't have to be something profound; just a thought to let the other person know you care and that you are available to talk or help if needed.

I know we're but a mere three weeks into a relationship, Pete and I......but I'm beginning to wonder now, did God place Pete in my life or mine in his?  Hmmmmmmmm.




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