Do you need help? May I help you?

Dear one,

I know my spiritual beliefs and personal path are not for everyone. I know not everyone has the capacity, energy, or desire to lead with love in all things and with all people. I don’t want you to be me, I want you to be the best you possible.

I embrace people every day from all walks of life and backgrounds, a variety of life stories and experiences. One of the first things I tell someone I may end up working with is this: “I’m not concerned with what you’ve done or what has been done to you. I am here to love you and to do my best to help you if that’s within my power.”

When I am on the street employing my skills as a case manager, counselor, or medic, there is a series of questions I ask, the first two of which are:

Do you need help? May I help you?

These two questions honor another human’s right to autonomy. The same general rule applies whether I’m working with a medical issue, addiction, mental health, or homelessness. I ask a series of questions, none of which have anything to do with politics or personal beliefs. The politics and personal beliefs of the person with whom I am working are irrelevant to what I do.

My purpose in this life is to love without restraint or conditions. Do I expect you to have the same calling in life? Absolutely not. It’s hard as hell. I administered care a few days ago to a member of the Bloods (the gang) and that he thought “faggots should be mowed down and turned into fertilizer.” I’ve been told by business owners that I needed to stop doing outreach because what I was doing was not going to help them “get the fucking junkie trash the hell out of here.”

These situations happen and my first reaction isn’t normal. I don’t feel attacked or called out, I feel sad and I want to know where in their lives these people were so badly hurt that they would treat other humans like this. Hurt people hurt people… that’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. My calling is to help people heal whenever I can, not just those who look or think like I do. Does that mean I forgive some folks who have done some pretty terrible things? Yes. Forgiveness isn’t for the forgiven, and forgiveness is not the same thing as forgetting.

Instead of reading the news and reacting with rage, telling others how they should or should not express their empathy, love, compassion, and grace, maybe we might pause and remember that we are all broken and damaged. We’re all in recovery from something. Our society is never going to heal until someone is willing to step across the lines that separate us. For me, that starts with two questions:

Do you need help? May I help you?

Never forget that I love you, and that excludes no one.


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About Sentimental Dom

Michael Nolan is The Sentimental Dom. He wants you to keep your chin up, treat everyone with dignity, compassion, and respect, and drink more water.

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