In the video below musician Bill Withers is singing “Lean on me” in a 1974 episode of Soul Train. The world was just coming out of the shock of losing John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, who had all caused us to believe that it could be a more just world. No work would have been accomplished on the collective hopes of these leaders without the help of others. They all needed someone to lean on.
We all need one another. Bill Wither’s song calls us to a brotherhood of caring one for the other regardless of race, religion or the differences of our beliefs. It is in the difficult times when we find out who our true friends are. We discover who really cares about us. The song says that kind of trusted friend is just right up the road, close by where needed most.
We need each other. It’s okay to ask for help. We are not required to be like John Wayne, who though he would be shot or wounded, still carried on to complete a military mission. A hurting friend needs another friend. A manager needs everyone on the team to reach company or organizational objectives. Those trapped in their prison of abuse need to be rescued. The homeless person, those on welfare, disability and on low incomes need all of us to care, to give them a hand up, not a hand out.
We all have burdens that we are carrying. We all have problems, but we don’t need to face them alone. When you see someone who needs your time and your heart, give both from a willing heart. If a friend or relative has fallen on hard times and needs a place to stay offer yours from a giving heart. If you need someone to get you through a rough time, ask for help. Never think that you are expected to do everything on your own.
For many years now I have needed the care and support of my wife, Karen. I have a very rare progressive neuro degenerative disorder called oliviopontocerebellar ataxia. I don’t expect you to know what that is. Even my neurologist had to look it up in a medical textbook. It is a slow decline that is occurring in my brain which is affecting my mobility, causing sometimes a slurring of my speech, problems at times finding the right word or knowing what the right word or thought to say next and even at times difficulty with swallowing. There is no known cure for what I have.
The most difficult thing for Karen and me to deal with is that I am losing my short-term memory. I am starting to not be able to remember even a conversation we had yesterday, if I left out meat to spoil again or even if I remembered to turn off the stove element.
We have cried mostly over the loss of my short-term memory. In our sorrow we know we need first to lean on our faith in God and then to help one another.
I really feel for the victims of all neuro degenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s. It was gut-wrenching and agonizing for Karen to see her mom’s memory die a little more from Alzheimer’s each day until she couldn’t even remember Karen’s name. Nothing can prepare you for something so devastating.
What gives Karen and me hope is that as my short-term memory is declining my ability to write, research, sing and write songs coninues to improve. We see these as gifts from our Lord for His season and thank Him for His blessings.
I thank God for all of you with joy as the Scripture says when I remember you in my prayers(Philippians 1:3-4). Your prayers, encouragement and inspiring comments give Karen and me strength to battle yet one more day. There are so many times I feel you give me far more than I give you. God bless you for your caring hearts.
If time should one day erase my memory of what I have shared you, I will have this article to come back to.
First, let us come to God in our time of need and then to one another, because we all need somebody to lean on.
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