Have you ever been on a race? Or at least seen one? Like an actual running race, not some horse race or even NASCAR. I’m talking about a bunch of people gutting it out and running till their brains splatter on the pavement.
It’s a human spectacle just watching people in a race. You see the agony and the desire of each participant wanting to finish strong. You could see in their faces the pain that’s coming from every limb in their bodies, but at the same time their endurance to tell the pain, “No, not yet legs. Don’t give up just yet.”
Each individual is so consumed with finishing the race that there’s little time to look back. Obviously, since it’s a race, one could care less if the person behind got injured or even got into an accident. However, I recall a friend of mine who did just the opposite of what racers do in a race: he stopped and cared for another racer.
It was a triathlon here in the Philippines almost two years ago when my priest friend stopped in the middle of the race and helped somebody out. Granted he was a priest and maybe he was supposed to help, but still, it’s not everyday you see someone stop in the middle of whatever they’re doing and reach out a hand.
Sometimes we can get so consumed about doing our own thing that we often miss out on the opportunity to help others. I mean really go out of our way and help.
The truth of the matter is, life is already difficult as it is, and it gets even more complicated and frustrating when we don’t have anyone to talk to about it. And even if we do get a chance to talk to someone about how they are doing and all that, sometimes it’s just small talk or a courtesy reply that we get. Maybe it’s social media. Maybe people only post the good stuff that’s happening in their lives and leave the drama out. Like a food picture on a Saturday afternoon suggests that person had a good day. We don’t know if that person has been having a rough week or even a rough year and this day was the only break he got. Maybe he’s dying in his current job and a simple Saturday meal made things a little bit better.
Encouraging someone is one of the greatest things you can do to someone. Sometimes, we don’t notice how much we can impact a person’s life. I mean, there are days when I feel like absolute crap and that nobody cares for me (See? Drama stuff really. Disgusting). But then there are days I get a chance to talk to my former colleagues, and in our small talk, they had seemingly meaningless words for me but I took them to heart. We talked about what I was doing now and how are things back at the old office and they just said that things are hard but they were also thinking and rooting for me in my goals. I guess I needed to hear that. I needed a pat in the back or even a kick in the head to get my life going again.
People everywhere are hurting. They may not show it or they might not even admit it, but let’s face it, everyone’s a little bit dissatisfied. A simple, “how are you?” can mean the world to someone. Trust me. Don’t be afraid that the other person might be busy and won’t even reply. When the time comes they need a friend, they’ll remember you somehow. They will.
An alternative would be, why don’t you pray that God will send someone you can bless? Of course we can pray for someone from afar and all that but this is different.
I remember a couple of months back when I prayed that God would send me someone who was in need. I honestly didn’t know what got into me when I prayed that. Maybe I was feeling a little less selfish that day. Lo and behold, that very afternoon I got a message from a friend who was working all the way from China. From China! We started chatting and our conversation lasted till the wee hours of the morning because she was going through something. I felt like my priest friend who placed everything aside to accommodate a friend. I hope I can be better at this and more chances like this arises. Until then I can be just a friend who prays and is waiting for the right moment to help out no matter how busy I am racing. And who knows, maybe someone will encourage me too. It’s about giving back and paying it forward.