Authentic Help & The Serenity Prayer

Remember last year, how I did that “quest thing” with a bunch of people online? I’m doing it again. Yesterday’s image was my response to the first prompt. Below is my response to the second.

You wake up to discover a knock at your door. A wealthy uncle you barely knew has passed and left you a fortune. It’s more than enough to live out your days in glorious splendor, but there is a condition. To be eligible to collect, you must commit your full-time working energies to the pursuit of an answer to a single question of your choosing for the next 12 months.

You are welcome to continue that pursuit after the year ends, for years or decades if it warrants, but you must remain fully focused on seeking the answer until the last minute of the 365th day. A minute shorter, the entire inheritance goes to your annoying and equally long lost cousin, Philly.

What is your question?

My first thought is that I need to see the fine print on this will, because I think cousin Philly rigged it. 2016 is a leap year, and I don’t know whether the 366th day counts.

And rereading this, I don’t think you actually get to collect the inheritance until 2017. Meaning that I have to go on paying my bills without said inheritance – presumably by keeping my full-time job – and while all the time spending my full-time working energies on the pursuit of this single question.

The science-fiction writer in me would also like to know what sort of thought-police tactic will be employed to ensure that I’m pursuing this question during the hours and days required.

But enough with my sarcasm and nit-picking. With the question I’d live in, it doesn’t really matter if I’d be working full time or not.  My question is a simple one.

How Can I Help?

There is no object in the preposition of the above question. Sometimes, the question will mean “How can I help myself?” and sometimes it must mean that.  But there are many other potential objects to that same preposition. How can I help… my family, Sweet Briar, the world?

This question is only four words, but say it with the emphasis on each of the words separately.

How can I help?

In what real ways can I help. What are the things that I can do or say that can help in this situation? This is the emphasis on the how – in what manner – can help be given. Monetary? Expertise? Empathy? Attention? Kindness?

How can I help?

Here’s where the Serenity Prayer comes in. I don’t have the money to help everyone in need. I don’t have the power to change laws. I might not have the energy or the time to lobby congress. What can I do? What is within my means and power and scope of “things I can change?”

How can I help?

This one is important  – because Jeffrey often talks about sharing your medicine. What do – I – specifically, uniquely bring to the table that could help this situation? What do I have to offer that can help?

How can I help?

Sometimes, the things we most want to do in outrage and righteous indignation can do more harm than good. Coming from the goal of creating change, or helping in some way, it can change the way I will tackle a sticky situation.  What’s the actual solution here, what’s going to help rather than just making me feel better.

That’s it. That’s my question. I guarantee I can carry it farther than 366 days. I hope I can carry it my whole life. This question is not a hand-wringing one. This question comes from a place of great power, and from a place of great humility.


4 thoughts on “Authentic Help & The Serenity Prayer

  1. Pingback: Missed Me, Missed Me? | A.K. Anderson

  2. Pingback: I’m Questing Again! #Quest2017 | A.K. Anderson

  3. Pingback: New Year’s Rituals | Alicia K. Anderson

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