When you are afflicted with tribulations, you discover 2 things: (1) You discover who your true family and friends are and (2) You discover your own strengths and weaknesses.
THE FIRST DISCOVERY
The first discovery is heart-wrenching to know. It is at this time that you truly find out who really cares about you and will do all they can to help you out of your predicament. You will also know who will just sympathize with you but will not do much to help you out except to just listen and console you. (You will find out later if it is genuine or just spontaneous). We don’t need the latter. We have enough consolation. Anybody can console, even a stranger or the bank teller or the nurse, or a sympathetic police officer. We need the former. We need people who can really help and go hand in hand with you to solve or get you out of the calamity.
In times of difficulty too, even your ‘close’ family members and friends shun you. They are soooooooo terrified that you will ask them for help or that you will bankrupt them.
They will be out of touch with lots of excuses – no time, busy, complicated, not available, unwell etc. The fact is, they just don’t want to get involved. However when it’s their turn to be IN need of help, they expect you to help them out or be there for them 100%.
There are times in your life when somebody close is very sick and needs to be taken care of. In the beginning, everybody will be sympathetic and tries to help out. But not many will hang in there or stay throughout to help you cope. In the end, you are left alone to cope with your own job, your own chores and looking after the sick person. You will be physically tired, mentally drained and financially broke. And you will realize that nobody comes to visit you or the sick person anymore.
There are also times in your life maybe when you are stuck financially – not because you don’t have the money but it was tied up in property or cash is not accessible or some other bureaucracy prevents you from disbursing it. And when you try to get the help of family or friend whom you know is well-off, you get pretty disappointed with their lame excuses and reasons. The best line that they give to you is “Oh! I’ve frozen my money in fixed deposit and I don’t want to unfreeze it!” How sad. How cruel. Even when you tell them you will return every single cent within a few months once you can settle your issue, they won’t budge. The shocking thing is that even your own close family member is capable of inflicting that hurt in you.
Yes, I myself would be scrupulous to lend money to someone whom you know can’t pay or is unemployed or is broke and has no kind of collateral or security to guarantee but I would help someone who is stuck temporarily to give him relief. I have lent money to family and even to a neighbor whom I have just befriended even when I was not well-off and barely could stand above water. I have helped them because I sympathize with their situation and my situation at that time was not as bad as them.
THE BALLOON GAME
There is this game that is carried out in a team-building workshop. Each participant has a balloon with his/her name written on it with a marker. All the balloons are placed in the middle of a large room, carefully mixed while the participants look away and not allowed to peep. When the timer starts, each participant is to find his or her balloon ONLY and they must do whatever they can to get their own balloon. The participants are not allowed to take any other person’s balloon nor help anybody. So when the timer starts – we can see the participants jostling and pushing and tugging with each other trying to find their balloons. We can even hear angry voices or warnings and even shouting: “Leave that! That’s my balloon.”, “Excuse me! You’re stepping on my toe!”, “Hey, put it back.” “Give me, that’s mine.” At the end of the allotted time, not everybody got his/her balloon and there was mixed feelings of anger, frustration, bitterness, stressed, disappointments etc among the participants. The rule then changes. This time, participants are allowed to pick any balloon close to him or her and give it to the person whose name is on it. Once the timer starts, this time we hear participants calling each other’s name “Melissa, here’s your balloon!” “Hey Jake, I’ve got yours.” “Oh! You got my balloon. Thanks.” In the end, within a short time, everybody gets his or her balloon with lesser chaos, confusion or jostling. And no mixed feelings. Everybody is happy and contented – from getting his or her balloon and for having helped others get his or her balloon. Helping one another is good because problems are shared and solved and everybody will end up being happy and contented. When everyone helps one another and holds each other’s hands, we can face any adversity together as we are stronger and united.
THE SECOND DISCOVERY
In times of catastrophe too, you discover your own strengths and weaknesses. You learn how to cope mentally, physically, psychologically, intellectually and physiologically. Yes, when problems afflict you, appetite to eat, sleep and socialize will be zero. And if you don’t check on them, you will fall sick and succumb to your body needs and your initial problems will double or triple or quadruple because of this. You will know where your threshold is and where your break point is, which is a good thing.
Above all, whenever you are afflicted with a calamity, the best course of action is really, really to depend on yourself to find the solutions to your problems and have faith that God will take you out of your problems. HE inflict you with the afflictions to test you, and HE will take you out of it. And once HE has taken you out of it, be grateful. You may not like the outcome, but you will learn and discover HIS true blessings – one of it is that you have discovered who your true friends and family are.