Take the time to lend a helping hand

By Clayton Norlen

As I walked back to my house with my arms full of groceries, I heard a snap of the bag that was followed by the pitter-patter of tuna fish cans and macaroni-and-cheese boxes hitting the sidewalk. I watched the tuna fish cans roll down the hill and asked myself what I had done to deserve such a fate.

As the last can came to a halt, I experienced a flashback to all those lessons in life my grandmother taught me in my youth-lessons like “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” and “Lend a hand to those in need.”

It was in my moment of need that these simple words finally held a ring of truth to me.

I started to unload the numerous bags that adorned my arms, setting them down in the grass and hoping there wouldn’t be another snap before they reached the safety of solid ground, then started to collect the cans and boxes dotting the nighttime landscape.

As I watched the tuna cans roll down the hill and lodge themselves in some bushes or into the gutter, I saw a pair of headlights turn onto my road. I thought salvation had arrived-that my guardian angel had come to lend a hand.

I watched the car park and a middle-aged man get out. As he approached, I crossed my fingers in hopes he would be kind enough to stop and help me collect the food that was decorating the sidewalk.

As the man got closer, I assumed that he would be like most individuals and stop to help a fellow man in need. But when he reached my mess and me, he stepped over my displaced groceries and went on as if he had seen nothing but a roadblock.

Now maybe my expectations were a little high-maybe I was wrong to assume that another person would be so kind as to stop and help another in need. Maybe he even had his own emergency and helping me was just out of the question at the time.

I doubt it, though.

Though it’s true that I was capable of handling the situation on my own and that I did get everything collected and bagged in due time, some help would have been-if nothing else-a nice gesture.

The kindness between neighbors we see in black-and-white movies is, as the lack of color suggests, outdated. Today the philosophy of kindness has been replaced with an iPod on maximum volume.

It is the simple gestures of kindness we are beginning to see less and less of in our society. Most of the time the thought of helping another is followed with a hiss of disgust and an upturned nose.

Our elders have labeled us the “me” generation, and I think they hit the nail on the head. Service is something many of us view as a necessary evil that leads to a scholarship or a nice referral. What ever happened to the philosophy that we should serve others because it is the right thing to do?

I’m just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to thinking of myself first, and I will bow my head in shame just as the next person should.

Although our gut instincts may tell us to think of ourselves first, fight that feeling and lend a helping hand to those in need. Forget about what it will do for you, and just do it because it’s the right thing.