Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to reach out? To take the first step in getting to know someone? Here’s my story:
We rarely saw her for the first year. Fall, winter and then spring passed by and we may have seen her one time. Occasionally lights illuminated the front window or her garage door was left open but rarely did we ever see her. We were her neighbors, but merely through proximity, that’s it.
We knew a widow lived there because she had been introduced to us the first week we moved in, but we knew nothing more about her. We couldn’t remember her name, didn’t know her needs and had never heard her story. She was there and lived her life… we were here and lived ours.
I often wonder how long it would have taken my wife and I to get to know her, if it hadn’t been for an unexpected winter storm.
During the spring a major ice storm hit the area leaving branches and downed tree limbs everywhere. With nothing to do, the neighbor next door started cutting up tree branches and cleaning up near by yards. I noticed he helped clean up her yard across the street.
Four weeks after the storm we got a knock on our door. It was her, my widowed neighbor who we will call Carol.
“I saw you with a chain saw during the storm cutting up trees. Thanks for cutting up my branches. Do you think you could help me remove a few dead bushes from my yard?” (I wanted to take credit for chopping up the trees in her yard but told her it was actually the other neighbor.) I also told Carol that I would definitely help her with the bushes.
Can I really help?
I honestly had no idea how to help her. I don’t have a chain saw, and in fact have never used one. I have no clue about cutting down trees and bushes and had no idea what we would do with the dead bushes after we removed them. But I knew this would be an opportunity to get to know Carol, as a person. Something long over due.
Why had it taken so long to reach out and get to know Carol? Worse yet, why had it taken her hobbling over to our house to initiate the friendship! Our good intentions had become blinded by our lack of initiative.
It wasn’t a heart thing. It was a priority thing.
Why are first steps often so difficult to take? Why didn’t we get to know Carol months ago? I’m sure I am not alone feeling this way. Many people if honest would probably say, yeah taking initiative is what holds me back from reaching out to get to know people as well.
We all have our reasons for putting off first steps.
But let’s be honest… none of them are really good enough.Image courtesy of pakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net