“For those living in a dark cave… sometimes all it takes
is for someone to throw us a lifeline.” ~Martin R. Lemieux
Thank goodness for Google Maps. There are times we wouldn’t find our way if not for that wise little voice. Often, a notification will pop up alerting the driver that there is an accident or construction ahead, offering an alternate route. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mapping service through life? “Warning, manipulator ahead –take alternate route,” “Bad job choice, would you like me to show you an alternate route?” While most of us experience moments of uncertainty, for many people, when life isn’t going the way they planned, they find themselves mired in a dark cave, and as Lemieux says, sometimes they just need someone to throw them a lifeline.
We were taking our first trip since my husband’s retirement. Flying above the clouds, the sun was shining, shades of blue surrounded us with fluffy white pillows of clouds magically standing in space. The captain’s voice jolted me out of my dreamlike state, “Folks, the flight attendants are making an early pass through the cabin so they can get buckled up for the bumps ahead.” What bumps, I wondered, could be ahead when things up here looked so beautiful. Soon, the bumps came. The clouds of white became more ashen in color, much flatter than they had been moments before and there was less of the beautiful blue skies outside the windows. So thankful for a pilot who was able to foresee the rough patch and prepare us, I thought of the lives that could be changed if only we could know how to be the lifeline those struggling need.
Project Hope Exchange and Life Vest Inside are two groups/sites that have recognized the importance of that lifeline known as hope. Internet sites might not be able to guide us from despair to hope, but there are many resources, such as these two, out there to help those of us who are in a good place help those who are having a bad day — or a bad life.
Remember a time when you felt hopeless — maybe you lost your job, maybe you lost someone you thought you could count on, or maybe you just felt like you had lost yourself. Looking back, what do you think might have helped you feel better? What might have helped you feel hopeful?
Folks, we aren’t all born into families where wiser people guide us through the rough patches, not every person is wired to search for answers on their own, and quite frankly when a person is in a dark cave it doesn’t matter how smart or rich or ‘blessed’ a person might appear to be. Without a lifeline, that dark cave probably has mud that keeps their feet suctioned to the ground.
It’s almost a guarantee that someone in your life is struggling and needing hope. Our schedules might seem packed, so we have to make an effort to be helpful.
- Send a text or a note to say ‘hello’ or to just check in on someone you know might need some hope.
- Set aside an hour for lunch or a cup of coffee to just lend an ear. People need someone to listen more than they need advice most times.
- Share a similar experience that you’ve had (if you’ve had one) that might let them know you understand what they are feeling. Unlike giving advice, shared experience gives your words some validity.
- Share information for resources that might help them in their current situation. No one has to have all of the answers, but having direction sure helps.
Whether it is with one of my children or one of my friends, I have found that helping others helps me. Offering hope to someone else might be the lifeline you didn’t even know you were needing for yourself.