I had started a post a while back which I couldn’t finish at the time, entitled “How Can I Help”. I was inspired to write the post by a touching experience my wife had while visiting her great uncle Clarence. The reason I couldn’t finish the post at time was because I couldn’t answer my own question.
I have since answered that question, but first I will share with you my wife’s experience.
Did I Ever Do Anything Nice For You?
My wife Betty went to visit her great uncle Clarence who was 101 years old and nearing his death. His body was starting to naturally shutdown and his mind was pretty much gone too. Rarely could he remember his relatives when they visited him. Betty’s visit was on one of those days when he had no idea who she was.
Betty sat at the edge of his bed and held his hand which he did accept. Directly into his ear she yelled, “Hello uncle Clarence, it’s Betty”, hoping he would maybe hear her AND remember her.
He slowly moved his head over to look in her direction, and asked, “Did I ever doing anything nice for you?”
As you can imagine, Betty began crying.
So when the final curtain call was looming, great uncle Clarence only had one concern.
Did he help?
“Everything Is Gonna To Be OK”
By all accounts, Uncle Clarence was an amazing man. He was born a farmer, raised a farmer, and lived his entire adult life as a farmer. Multiple sources on my wife’s side all told me about Clarence’s demeanor. He was an extremely hard worker but he was emotionally laid back. He never seemed to fuss when the situation seemed perfect for a freak out.
When one of his kids, grandkids, or great grandkids ever expressed fear or stress, he would hold their hand and calmly (and slowly) say, “Oh…don’t you worry now….everything’s gonna be OK.” (and Clarence never even knew who Bob Marley was)
A lot of people say those words in attempt to help someone in the throes of a stressful situation, but I’ve been told by numerous others that Clarence actually meant it and believed it. He believed that stressful situations were merely brief and nothing to worry about. If he could fix the problem, he would do so right away. If he couldn’t fix “the problem” right away he would patiently wait until he could. If he couldn’t fix the problem AT ALL, he would hire someone else to fix the problem, or find someone else in the family who could.
If NOBODY could fix the problem he simply accepted it – at least for time being. (and Clarence never even knew who Eckhart Tolle was)
The Answer To Life
Uncle Clarence wasn’t alone in his longevity. He had a brother who lived to be 106, and another to 103, and his father lived over 100 years as well. All of these men had more in common than just longevity though. They all possessed the same basic attitude. They never over-stressed about anything when it went wrong, or if a situation went bad.
They seemed to possess “the answer to life” without knowing they possessed the answer to life.
There were no self help books on their farmhouse book shelves. They didn’t swallow SSRI tablets, and if they were angered by something it was simply in the moment of a crisis in which they were in motion to remedy the situation (if they could).
Again, by all accounts (family and non-family) these men didn’t have a mean bone in their bodies. I’ve been lucky enough to meet most all of the children passed down by these men, and a couple of them possess the same demeanor.
They’re farmers. They still work the land and live in a much quieter world than your humble narrator’s world. I’ve never lived on a farm, or a tiny community, and at first when I met these people I was very uncomfortable in their presence. I couldn’t deal with the silence.
They don’t have a problem with “dead air”. You can be having a conversation with them and there will be times when they all just stop talking. They won’t add to a previous line of discussion, and they won’t start a new line of discussion. They’re perfectly content to wait it out until someone decides they have something worth saying.
It’s been over 15 years now that I’ve know these farmers, and I’ve finally learned how to relax when there’s silence.
There’s nothing wrong. They’re not annoyed with you or anyone else in the room. They’re not quiet because they’re shy, uncomfortable, or put out. They can all be sitting there silently, stoned faced, and to some observers they may look like they have a problem with the situation. But a minute or so later one of their faces will light up with a smile and they’ll begin talking again.
I know I sound like some tie-dyed Pollyanna, wearing rose colored glasses and poncho, but I’m telling you flat out…these guys are exactly how I’ve described them.
Don’t get me wrong. These are not perfect people by any stretch. Some of them had relationship problems, and some had bad drinking problems, but at their core they have a calmness about them. This is why the words seemed to are in italics and emboldened at the start of this segment.
I don’t think they did have the answer to life, but I think they had the answer to better life than most. Well…a better life than most humans wandering around this big blue marble we call home.
So How Can I Help?
Back to why I couldn’t finish this post. The name of this website is Debt Files, and I was attempting find a way to help people in debt.
As I started writing I soon discovered I didn’t have an answer. After all, I’m not a bank or a credit union. Last time I checked I wasn’t licensed to lend money in any State, Province, or Country.
There’s already a lot of GREAT bloggers who provide stellar content for people suffering in the swamp of debtor hell. I couldn’t think of any one special thing that I could bring to the floor. One idea that might really help someone in their time of great need.
I had to think back and remember what it felt like when I was sinking in debtor’s quicksand. I had to recall what I was dealing with when I eventually declared personal bankruptcy.
And then it hit me.
The kind of help I needed when I was in deep financial trouble wasn’t budgeting advice, a consolidation loan, a bail out, or a debt settlement. All of those things can be helpful, and we all know they exist, but what I needed was emotional help.
The sheer terror of knowing I was going down was crippling. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was shutting down and my loved ones around me were paying the price. I had become mentally ill and my life spun out of control to the point where I considered suicide as a viable solution to my problems.
Yes. I Can Help
So as per normal, in this crazy mixed up muddled up world, the answer was starring me in the face the whole time. I will help my fellow human beings who are desperately in debt, and frightened to point of “shutting down” like I did.
I will do my best to metaphorically hold their hand, and say, “”Oh…don’t you worry now….everything’s gonna be OK.”
And perhaps someday I will be lucky enough to have helped thousands upon thousands of people. At least for a brief time in their life when they walked through the valley of debtor’s hell.
I will you join you all again in my next post entitled, “Don’t Let Debt Take You Down.”