A story about stories

Sunday, July 24, 2016

This morning I was thinking about stories.


I’ve just got back from assisting at a teacher training for people from all over the globe who want to live and share the Heal Your Life messages of loving ourselves and changing our thinking.


Which is where the stories come in. We all arrived with our stories of hurt, disappointment, fear, lack of self belief, and worse. And during the course of a week replaced them with new stories of peace and fulfilment, hope, abundance, love and connection.


All it took was a decision: a choice to let the old story go with forgiveness and compassion and replace it with new thoughts and beliefs.


I’ve been through this powerful process so many times and yet my soundtrack STILL catches me out often.

Drunk in charge
Today I recalled last Monday night when I accompanied a friend to hospital and as we waited (and waited and waited) she pointed out a man who seemed to be slowly collapsing in his chair. dangerously lower and lower.


He’d arrived alone and for a moment we both visualised the mess that would follow when he lost consciousness completely and crashed headfirst onto the tiled floor.


So I jumped up and knelt in front of him. “Are you ok?”
He shook his head very slightly “No”, then began to cry.


I looked up. No sign of any hospital staff. I put my arm around him and felt him slump. He smelt of alcohol and staleness and he was drifting into unconsciousness.
I wedged my body in a way that I was supporting him. He could not fall. But neither could I move to summon help.
Yet the waiting room was full to bursting. There were patients and their loved ones propping up the walls. Why did no-one else offer to help him - or me?


It was probably ten minutes before a couple of other women attracted the attention of staff and help arrived in the form of a male nurse who manhandled the man into a wheelchair. He opened his eyes briefly but could no longer speak and one side of him lolled heavily. Possibly he’d had a stroke.


And I returned to my friend to wonder why no-one had stepped in to help me hold him up. My story was that people don’t want to get involved.


Millions of Good Samaritans
But I know it’s not true. Every day there are stories of people stepping up and stepping in. The millions of silent good Samaritans who appear during every new episode of the violence that we are hearing about right now, to comfort the injured and dying, the trained staff who pick up the pieces, the strangers who open their homes.


I see there were so many reasons why no-one came to help:


The staff – who had already been on duty for long, exhausting hours – were flat out caring for other equally sick people.


Those in the waiting room had not noticed the man come in alone and assumed I was his wife or girlfriend.


Some of them had noticed he was drunk and were scared.


I didn’t ask for help. (A whole nother story in itself.) So people assumed I had everything in hand.


Which is true?


I know it is whichever I choose to believe, and that how I choose matters more than anything.


If I choose to believe ‘people don’t want to get involved’ I feel lonely, resentful, despairing.
If I choose to think they are confused or afraid or lost in their own struggles, I feel only compassion for all of us who were there that night. We’re all doing our best.


It’s either a dog eat dog world in which everyone is out for themselves, or it’s a world in which it is up to every one of us to see the humanity in each other and reach out to share what we have in common.


We get to choose.

Posted by Jane Matthews on 07/24 at 08:11 AM
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