MEETING OUR DEEPEST HUMAN NEED by Rector Chris Girata
MEETING OUR DEEPEST HUMAN NEED was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, Febuary 12, 2021
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
Across the street from the spot where most people visit lived a man named Don. Don knew the beauty of the cliffs and he also knew the tragic reality of those cliffs, too. As a young man, Don began trying to help those who came to the cliff edge out of desperation, looking for a quick end. As individuals walked up to the cliff edge, looking at the crashing waves below and wondering whether to jump, Don would hurry out of his house and then approach them slowly. With a smile he would say, “Why don’t you come and have a cup of tea?”
For many, a listening ear was apparently what they needed.
If they accepted his invitation, the person would be invited into his home where they would have a chat over tea. No counseling, no advising, no prying. Just one human being lending a listening ear to another. Of course, some of the people had mental illnesses and others were just people going through a rough patch in life. For many, a listening ear was apparently what they needed as they changed their minds after the chat and turned back home.
Don didn’t manage to save everyone in his time, naturally. Some were already gone by the time he rushed to the cliff edge. Some rejected his invitation. Yet, Don didn’t weigh himself down with those who were lost. He said that he did his best with each person, and if he lost one, he accepted that there was nothing more he could have done. Don did this small act countless time for almost 50 years before his own death at a wonderful old age. Talking to the people who walked up to the cliff’s edge, extending a helping hand and giving them a listening ear became one of his life’s purposes. And Don saved more than 400 people in the process.
The ability to relate to another person—to care for another person—is the highest order of our humanity.
Don’s story is unique, but Don’s purpose is not. How many times have we been compelled to be kind or found ourselves drawn to helping? I regularly tell my children that becoming more kind and more helpful is far more important than winning competitions or acing tests. Of course, worldly metrics are important, but the ability to relate to another person—to care for another person—is the highest order of our humanity.
If we’ve learned anything in this pandemic, we need to be connected to one another. I need connection with others and so do you. But what we need is more than just being physically present with one another. We need to be emotionally and spiritually connected. We need to show others care and compassion to be deeply satisfied. In other words, without helping others and giving to others, we will never fill ourselves up. Perhaps this week, you can challenge yourself to do a small act of kindness, something simple to show that you care about someone who might not expect it. By doing so, you will meet a deep need in them, but you will meet an even deeper need in you.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
Tags: Blog & Newsroom