I’ve come to believe that the only person worthy of help is the one who asks for it. You can’t help someone who doesn’t know they need help. Let me provide a couple of recent examples.
My friend, Max has been kinda sort of seeing this woman in nearby Jiquilpan by the name of Rose. Rose is 33 years old, without child, never been married, professional woman (lawyer), who still lives with her parents (not uncommon) and has finally figured out that she’d like to be married.
Rose has recently fantasized that she will soon meet Mr. Right and then after a brief courtship (one and a half years) they’ll marry, and one can assume, live happily ever after.
Rose has mapped out to my non-candidate friend, Max all her magic man’s wonderful, keen and positive attributes with great specificity.
The problem, the way it stands, is Rose doesn’t appear to have a single positive attribute of her own to bring to the nuptials. She is excruciatingly self-centered, loves only to spend money chasing the highly elusive good life, yet not so ironically happens to be taking two different prescriptions for depression; neither of which seem to be working.
Her rationale for why she hasn’t yet had a single happy sustaining relationship is that she is ‘way wickedly smart’ for most men and also possesses a dominant personality that just happens to go hand in hand with being wickedly smart.
Insert: Rose is a reasonably attractive 33 yo woman with a reasonably attractive 33 yo body who has falsely come to perceive that her attractiveness, combined with her status as a professional, are sufficient in and of themselves as attributes.
Rose is a classic case of someone being so far behind in a race they think they’re ahead. Another person – one who is more self-aware – might ask, ‘I can’t land a good man. What’s wrong with me?’ Rose’s therapist appears to miss the significant clues pointing to the single common thread in this conundrum called Rose’s Life is Rose herself.
So I speculate in a not too distant future, Rose will become even more depressed, probably fat, in which she’ll be even more impossibly distant from her goal. And the solution is no further than a call, a question away. ‘What’s wrong with me?’
And then there is my old buddy, Doug. I won’t even bother to list all of his attributes because they’re going to sound negatively similar to Rose’s in exactly the same (but different) sort of way. (And yes, I understand what I just wrote.)
So here he is, a guy who has got both very underachieving adult children still living at home; a suicidal daughter and an avid video gamer for an adult part-time working son. He has spent the last 30 years building a failed law practice which he planned to diversify with a real estate investment business although that endeavor quickly drove him into bankruptcy. You’d think, ‘Detroit, 2012. Bad luck.’
But to hear him talk, the ‘kids’ will work it out and the business is just slow. Now I wonder, is that point of view born from one of supreme, blessed optimism? Or is that the viewpoint of one incredibly confident man? Or is this yet another case of someone who is [also] so far behind in the race?
I am not throwing rocks here. I am merely bringing this up because I’ve finally sensed some commonality here I can finally put my finger on. And that is there are always going to be people in our lives who need help. And maybe that help is just as simple as asking for and receiving some advice.
My favorite example – complete with a solution – for how all this is supposed to work comes from the book of Acts, Chapter 8 concerning Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. And the long and short of the story is this – The eunuch, a wealthy and influential court official, was traveling and was obviously struggling to understand a passage of Isaiah. When Philip caught up with him he asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come and sit with him.
That’s how it’s supposed to work. First, there has got to be the recognition that there is a problem. Second, there has to be an introspectively driven need to fix the problem. And no amount of kind words or any attempt to help is going to be useful without that person first recognizing their need.
PS – And there will always be those people in our lives who truly cannot be helped.