Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I am...um, always here to help ....

For better or worse - and in some cases both - I am a helper.

If someone drops something, I pick it up and give it back to the dropee.

I replace items that have fallen off shelves in stores, homes, schools, or pretty much any building I happen to be visiting.

For some unknown reason, people visiting from other countries who speak every language known to humankind stop to ask me for directions. Which I always seem to know - or find for them.

They see right through me.

I'm a helper.

Someone needs assistance crossing the street? No boy scout, me, but I'm an eager crutch, cane or seeing eye dog fill-in.

A friend is getting LASIK surgery; I gave her a lengthy 4-1-1 on caring for her eyes after the operation (having gone through it myself -- keep 'em moist with lots of drops). Her eyes probably glazed over as I gave her the information - she probably knew it all already. But I wished someone had emphasized that to me when I went through it.

Just had to lend support any way I could.

Feeling down? Let me help.

Count on me to know CPR, know how to stop the bleeding and be the first person at a car crash to take the right steps. In fact, I'm a former volunteer firefighter. Several years ago I took care of a farm (including vegetable and fruit plants/trees and animals) in exchange for room and board while I wrote a book - so I joined the only firefighting/first responder unit in the area. Which was volunteer.

What if one of the cows or chickens needed CPR? Or first aid? What if my aging cat Kitzel got sick? What if lightning set the owner's house on fire? Or the nearby forest? Or what if an electrical short set my own little handy person's house on fire? Yep, I should definitely be ready.

Training was tough. When we fought the one house fire that broke out while I was there, between the air tank, yellow suit, boots and hat, I was wearing some 75 pounds of equipment. The water hose (from the water truck - we were out in the boonies without hydrants) is also very heavy. Very.

Here's a helpful hint - do you know the most dangerous part of fighting a house fire is the poison released when furniture and materials containing chemicals become toxic when they burn? We spent a long time learning to automatically put our air masks on before approaching any building fire (we practiced on a couple houses that were burned for us to practice on).

A helpful hint? There I go again.

I suppose it's a natural part of being a teacher or coach, though I try to contain my helper gene to my work, but sometimes I just can't help myself. I mean - I *can* help ... me, too, like I do others - I just can't stop myself.

Take last night.

I was at the grocery store, minding my own beeswax, carefully reading ingredients on packages tempting me, when I saw the head and torso of a man swaying, as if he were becoming faint. I saw he was with a little girl - his daughter?

I took a fast second glance, preparing to rush to his rescue if he really was ready to keel over. My hands were CP-R (CP to the Rescue) ready.

He didn't stop, he kept swaying!

I dashed up to him, putting my hand on his shoulder (first action to take - it gives patients confidence, relaxes them, lowers the heart rate) and asked, "Are you all right?"

Whereupon the little girl reprimanded him with, "I told you, daddy!"

What? Told him what?

They both laughed.

He was kidding around ... holding an oddly shaped large product box that appeared to weigh a lot - that he pretended was too heavy for him to carry. Thus the little dance, swaying under its "weight."


After the laughter died down - mine a bit uncomfortable - he thanked me kindly for caring.

You bet. Any time. No one else noticed, did they.

Then I decided maybe I'm not just a helper. Who can be a little too helpful here and there with people who don't really want or need any.

Maybe I'm just someone who cares.

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  • At 7:42 PM, Blogger Jay said…

    Dear CP,

    You are not alone. I have in the past done too many random acts of kindness before I took care of myself. Does this sound familiar? I am learning that it is still ok to be helpful but I can be much more useful if I am fully functioning, or healthy. It goes back to the example of the airplane emergency: If the emergency air masks deploy always put your own mask on first before you help someone else, because if you don't you will very quickly be unable to help anyone and instead of being able to help you become a casualty in need of help.

    I think wanting to help others shows you have a highly developed consciousness, you empathize with the others around you to a high degree and probably do this maybe too much. I know now that I do. I sometimes end up in some very deep personal conversations with complete strangers just because they seem to need someone to talk to. When I go shopping sometimes I see a small child or baby that is crying just because they want to be held and the parent is just ignoring them. It drives me buggy, I feel like yelling at the insensitive parent that is ignoring this very simple basic request to be held. But I have to bite my tongue and walk away. On many occasions I have been shopping in a store and found a child holding my hand then I have to find the lost parent. I have a 12 year old son and he still likes holding my hand (much to my delight). We need to learn how to set boundaries. This is easier said than done. Helping others gives something indefinable back to us. Maybe it's a sense of being useful, maybe it just makes us feel good knowing we made a positive difference in someone else’s life. A very good friend of mine once told me an old saying, it goes something like this:

    When things are bad Sufi does nothing, when things are good Sufi does more than anyone can imagine.

    I personally have a very hard time with this because when thing are bad I can't hardly stand to stand by and do nothing. I think my good friend was trying to tell me I was destroying myself by too often stepping in.

    I don't know if any of this makes sense, but I can really relate to your comments.

    Take care, do good things (but not detrimental to your well being) and be well!

    PS: You probably don't remember our "little secret" from the filming of "The Whole Truth". I do and it still makes me smile.

  • At 4:18 PM, Blogger The Entertainment Corner said…

    If only everyone in the world was as caring as you are CP ... it would be a much better place.

    I agree with Jay ... Take care, do good things (but not detrimental to your well being) and be well!

  • At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've been reading your blog since you started posting about your new movie "The Whole Truth". It is very interesting.

    I'd love to know when The Whole Truth will be available to watch?


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