magic of helping


Over the last several weeks, I have been rebuking myself for not doing more for kids within the system. While I have been publishing blog posts every day, I just haven’t had the energy to accomplish much else. I have felt like a clock winding down, moving ever and ever more slowly.

A few days ago—maybe it is the change in weather, maybe my conscience finally got to me—something finally shifted. I wrote a letter initiating a search for a pro bono attorney for a case that has been stalled for months for lack of funding. And yesterday I spent a lot of time on the phone with a mother—someone who has been searching for someone to talk to for two years—whose son, remarkably enough, is incarcerated at Pendleton youth prison and is one of Paul Henry Gingerich’s best friends. The woman’s son had told her about my role in Paul Henry’s appeal, and urged her to contact me for advice.

She and I are both thankful she did. Within two hours of her first call, I had contacted an influential person in Indiana who promised to make some inquiries and get back to me next week. When I called her back to tell her that my friend was working on her son’s case, she told me she had just awakened from a nap, the first peaceful sleep she had experienced since her son had been incarcerated. “I felt like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders,” she said.

But this nap happened before I’d called back to say that my friend was working on it. Apparently just having someone listen to her was benefit enough.

Yet a few moments ago, I said that I was thankful, too, for her call. The truth is, it was good to learn that Paul Henry is appreciative enough of what I did that he would share it with his friend, and that his friend would share it with his mom. It was good to learn that I could have such a positive impact on her by just listening and caring. It was her gift to me just knowing that I was needed. It filled me with a vigor I haven’t felt in a long time.

And this is the point of this post: someone needing help and someone else giving it is a transaction benefiting both parties. So often we fall into the trap of thinking of give-and-take as one party gaining from the transaction and the other party being diminished. But this isn’t how it works at all.

The magic of this economy of helping is that both parties are rejuvenated and made better, albeit in different roles. There need be no winners and losers—only winners.


Weather Report

75° and Clear


2 Responses to “magic of helping”

  1. October 17, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Danny –

    You have always been needed and appreciated. Since the first time we met back in the 70’s you have been an inspiration to me. You have no idea about the numbers of people you have brought joy and understanding. Your are a gift to all who have been lucky enough to come in contact with you. Keep up the good work my friend and know that you are LOVED & VALUED by many enlightened souls. I LOVE YOU & LIKE YOU

    Your Forever Pal – Dusty

    • October 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      Thank you, Jim… I really wasn’t fishing for a compliment, but I do appreciate what you’ve said. The cruel reality is, these kids have expanding needs, and I have diminishing capacities. I won’t say I’m over-committed, but at some point I am going to have to rely on others to help serve these young people. Plus there are always more kids, and the public systems we have in place to “help” them are terribly misguided and only make things worse than they have to be. The post simply says that the act of giving has its own restorative power. Maybe it will inspire others to step forward and help.

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