Finished with my business at the hospital, I pushed open the massive door with the pretty green EXIT sign above it. I started heading down the three floors I had until I reached ground level. On the third step or so, my heel wobbled and I had to grab the handrail to steady myself.
My imagination ran away with me. What if I had fallen? What if I had tumbled head over heels until I landed against the door of the third floor? How long would it take until someone came down that particular staircase? How long would I lay in a pool of my own blood, slowly dying? Or if I were able to make it out into the hallway, crawling on my hands and knees, dizzy from the concussion and dragging my broken leg behind me, would someone help me? With all the nurses and other hospital staff roaming the halls, would anyone stop? Or would they be too busy? Would they think I was being strange and call security? Would they stuff me in an elevator and send me to the ER? Or maybe just kick me down the rest of the stairs to get me there faster?
It is very scary to think about needing help and not having access to it. Or that someone might see you need help and not care enough to give it.
It would be easy to see when someone is bleeding profusely or if he has a limb that is bent at an awkward angle. Obviously he needs help, and walking away from him would be cruel.
It’s not so easy to see when someone is bleeding on the inside. Everyone has their own struggles they deal with. You never know if the person you pass in the hallway is dealing with a difficult illness, tight finances, a rocky marriage, or a life-changing decision. Sometimes, if they’re acquaintances or friends, you might have a better idea what challenges they face. When do you offer first-aid? When do you walk away?
Most people keep their personal feelings and problems quiet and close at hand. Perhaps they don’t want to feel rejected for their problems, or appear to be a failure, or become vulnerable to be hurt more. Maybe they don’t think their problems are worth consideration, or don’t want to burden others.
It takes a keen eye and a soft heart to detect the type of internal bleeding that needs intervention, and the wisdom to know how it should be done. It can only happen when you turn your eyes from your own problems and look to help others. A listening ear is the best band-aid for many of life’s troubles.