Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ripplers Know How To Be There

I don't know what it is but recently I have been faced with several situations where people have had unusually bad things happen to them. A business acquaintance who can't seem to land a job and the money is getting tight. A fan of my book and now good friend who just learned that their company will be making some job cuts and she is likely to be the next to go. The friend who just learned that his spouse has reconnected with an old flame and their marriage is on the rocks. Or a good friend who just this morning I learned had lost both of his parents and his father-in-law in an incredibly short amount of time and it had obviously taken its toll him.

It's in those moments when faced with the raw emotion and the fear of another person's predicament that many people retreat. Part of it is insecurity. Part of it is out of one's own fear. Part of it is out of some people's pure inability to empathize with another's plight. Part of it is people's inability to handle other people's stresses, personal or professional tragedies. They retract into the inner comforts of their own shell leaving the person in real need of an ear, a open heart or simply a hug, out in the cold alone and hurting.

I believe when faced with those kinds of moments it's a personal gut check for you. Do you have the power to elevate yourself beyond your own life's troubles to open your heart and mind for someone else. I for one can say that I haven't always had that ability. In fact there was a time in my life that I was downright selfish and almost petulant when faced with such situations. I had my own problems, my own issues and felt that polluting my own being with another's problems was impossible for me. Heck I couldn't find the answers to my own troubles, how on Earth would I be able to help someone else?

Until I did.

It began with a friend who was going through a divorce and simply unloaded one night over beers. I focused entirely on him and what this cocky self confident individual was really being reduced to because of his impending divorce. I just listened and was there for him. Maybe it was my willingness to stop and listen and just be there with and for someone who was facing a traumatic situation in their life that was the wake up call I really needed for my own life. I often think back to that moment and many others since and realize they were every bit the gut check moments that they are intended to be. Life was challenging me to help someone else fight through their situation and the only real question was...I am going to answer the bell or not.

Well I did and I since then I have realized that my heart has plenty of room to take on more. There is always room to welcome someone else into it and to simply be there when there is a need. I think Ripplers naturally know that the world is a bigger place then just themselves and the power to really be there for another in their hour, day, month, year or decade of need is one of the most incredible gifts we can offer.

So next time you are faced with the life opportunity of being there for another, simply ask say this:

"I am here for you. How can I help?"

You may just find that the bell that calls you into the fight has more to teach you than you ever expected. The good news is, your heart has plenty of room and can take all comers!

Ripple On!!!


Sue said...

Very insightful post.

Sometimes I feel stupid and tactless when I can't think of anything to do or say for friends in need. Thanks for this reminder that being there means more than doing something profound.

Arlin K. Pauler said...

Once again you have nailed it.
One of my teachers used to say – actually I still hear her from beyond - "Don't just do something, be there”. This “Ripple” thing - connecting - is often so simple that it’s challenging. Just being with each other can be a tsunami size Ripple. Your point is so clear I can feel it.
Keep up your “Great Work”, Arlin.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Harper,

Your stuff is quite simply amazing. I am so glad to have found your BLOG!


Steve Harper said...


Just being there is often enough. And...the words will come.

Ripple On!!!

Steve Harper said...


As always...a wonderful comment that makes me smile. You honor me with the way you always use my posts to build out a lesson. I totally love that about you my friend.

Sounds like an amazing teacher that taught you a lot. I have a few of those in my background too.

Thanks for the "Great Work" comment. Yes Sir...I will!

Ripple On!!!


Steve Harper said...

Thank you Michelle. Glad to know you!