The pain and pleasure of helping others
“A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” John 16:21 (KJV)
Bobby R. Henry, Sr.,
Sometime ago I had the pleasure of working alongside some of the Black teenage males from the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County as well as some of the hard working Black men of this community.
The work that we were doing didn’t have a monetary payoff nor was it in the comfort of air conditioned buildings.
The work was extremely physical and laborious. At times there was no escape from the simmering sun as it seemed to melt our clothes into our bodies.
For those of us who didn’t wear gloves the tools blistered the palms of our hands, while the sand filled our shoes and the sweat burned our eyes, making it difficult to see; we continued to forge on until the task was completed for that day.
Even though this was some back breaking activity, the strenuous work produced some meaningful lifelong lessons for all of us who labored under the intense heat.
For three days I rubbed my sore palms while thinking back over the weekend and how I watched young boys who would have probably rather been home playing video games or anywhere else but out in the blistering sun digging trenches.
It didn’t start out so cohesive. We had to talk to each other and not talk about one another.
We, all of us – boys and men included – had to teach by demonstrating and we all had to learn by being open and nonjudgmental.
You know, it’s kind of difficult to take a person from where they are to where you want them to be without some frustrations and moments of conflicts. But if it’s done with the intent to reach the same goal without destroying each other, the painful bumps are soothed with the healing balm of working together to help someone other than those that are doing the work.
The service that we gave this weekend was not for any of us; it was done to help someone outside of the workers. Even though it was the family property of a young man that was working with us, he worked harder and he inspired me to work harder because of a comment he made. As sweat was pouring from his body and he continued to dig, I asked him why he was working so hard. He said, “I want to show ya’ll that I appreciate what ya’ll are doing for my grandmother.”
He is 17 years old with dreads and gold teeth and full of respect.
As we worked throughout the day there were pearls of wisdom being dropped by the old heads while eager young ears scooped them up quickly to digest and regurgitate them back to us in their own youthful vernacular.
Surprised by one dialogue we were engaged in, the question was asked, “Who knows the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America?” A young brother quickly began to recite it word for word. We all were impressed.
As swiftly as he ended, another question was asked. “Who was James Weldon Johnson and what did he do?” “Does anybody know the Negro National Anthem or the words to “Lift Every Voice and Sing?” The sound of silence stilled the air under the tent.
This is where the pain comes in before the pleasure of helping others.
It was at this moment that all the men began to do some soul searching. We immediately addressed the issue of building the foundation to why OUR history is so important and extremely necessary to teach to OUR youth.
As each man told of a significant event of our History, the young males enthusiastically asked for more. Now comes the pleasure.
The project was completed for the day. We dug up an entire yard, installed a sprinkler system and laid the sod all without arguing, belittling or disrespecting one another.
So now when I rub the calluses in my hand, I smile as I see the faces of those young Black males sweating profusely as they helped someone else.
Yes, it does require some pain when you extend yourself for others, but the rewards are so much more pleasurable.
[He Took on the Status of a Slave] If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” Philippians 2:1 (The Message)
“Dear God as we grow in you we find that the pain of serving others, is no pain at all. It is the joy of being like You. In Jesus name , Amen.”
WHEN WE DO SERVICE FOR OTHERS WE FIND OURSELVES SERVING YOU.