Archive for April, 2010

Learning to need the needy

April 1, 2010

The Dignity Serves curriculum teaches how to build dignified interdependence and suggests that this is the ideal relational context for meeting human need. It is a challenging ideal to be sure, made so because fostering dependent or self-sufficient individuals is just easier. Problem is the dependent become too needy, the self-sufficient not needy enough. In either case, there is a group whose neediness tends to be masked – people of means. When people of means give stuff away, harmful dependencies can result. When people of means help others become self-sufficient, more people of means are created – more people suffering from the delusion that they do not really need other people. Some becoming so afflicted that neediness itself is seen as the problem.

Every human being is needy from the cradle to the grave. No exceptions. There are no self-made people. There are only God-made people who need one another and God desperately but are usually too afraid to admit it. We need one another because everyone has something to contribute. But there is a group whose giftedness tends to be masked – the needy. They avoid employing their gifts to the benefit of others and are met by an army of people who will help them avoid employing their gifts.

We need the needy and not just because the needy is everyone. True as that is, it is more personal and immediate than that. Let me say it another way – imagine the most jacked up, down and out, on the rocks person you can think of. You need them. Imagine the poorest, or saddest, or craziest person you can think of. You need them. With a person in mind, this is not so theoretical. Think of someone.

If you still don’t have a specific person in mind, you’re copping out and you’ll probably stop reading soon. Thanks for reading this far, see you next time. If you went with the exercise and took the time to think of a specific person, awesome. Now imagine how you might actually need them. It may help to ask yourself, what could they do for me that would help me? or what could they say to me that would help me? Now consider the questions you could ask them to invite their help. Lastly, go look them in the eye and ask them the question. It can be a really simple question like will you help me or will you pray for me or what do you think about such and such but nothing happens if the question goes unasked.

Why is this important? Because these questions do go unasked and everyone needs to be needed. If you have noticed that someone is needy, then so have others. If you have tried to help someone in need, it is likely as well that so have others. What is not so likely is that these needy people are feeling that they are needed and that is tragic. They are needed. Someone has to not only say it but demonstrate it in a tangible way. Why not you? Why not take the challenge and ask someone who appears to have nothing to offer to help you in some way. You may be very surprised at what happens (and so might they).