AMBIENT THOUGHT – Episode One Hundred Four: Help Yourself…

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter. 



At our house, we have a week where we have lots of things in the refrigerator and the pantry and then the next week, we’re on a tight budget.

I tend to run out of all the tasty things quick because sometimes I lack the control. When our budget week comes, I’m scraping the barrel and bringing different combinations of food to work for lunch. It might be grapes and rolled up ham slices or a peanut butter sandwich and a pack of nuts.

My sweet wife sees this and if she has something that she bought for herself (which I never touch because I will not get between a woman and her stored food), if she gets sick of it, she’ll let me have it as a choice. On one particular occasion, it was a half a bag of honey mustard flavored pretzels. And on that half-bag was a little note that said Help Yourself and had a little happy face.

I immediately grabbed the whole thing, note and all, and put it into my large lunch box and brought it to work with a peanut butter sandwich.
I sat and ate those honey mustard pretzels for lunch and I thumb tacked that note to my desk cork board. I would glance at it as the day went on.

Help Yourself.

I really started to think about those two words as the afternoon ticked by.

Help Yourself.

There are times when we must be reminded to do this. Then there are times when we do it too much.

The real message of this post isn’t really about helping yourself. It’s true.

It’s about a person giving you the chance to help yourself. It’s offering somebody a gift, an option to better their lives for either a few minutes (like I did when I ate the pretzels) or to better their lives for years to come or forever.  It’s the power of giving.

Have you ever made time to give of yourself? Maybe it’s donating time at the homeless shelter or paying for somebody’s meal when they look like they need it or helping a neighbor by cutting their lawn when you know they’re sick or hurt. Maybe even something as simple as buying the coffee for the person behind you at a well-known coffee retail place.
Maybe you are one of these people. Or, like me, you don’t do it enough.

When we ask people to help themselves, it’s giving with no plans that they will pay you back. It’s giving for the sake of giving and just doing good.

I know we can’t do it all of the time. Most people I know aren’t rich and they live paycheck to paycheck. It’s difficult to buy somebody’s meal when they are counting change in their car to make sure they can buy what they need. I believe there is something more important than the hard-earned dollar.
It’s time.

I find time to most important of them all when it comes to giving. We make money and spend it, either on things we must have or things we want. The money will come and it will go and it will come again. Time is not like that. The time comes and goes. It ticks away and is gone in a click of the second-hand on a clock. What we do with our time becomes precious. When you give somebody your time, it means they are important to you, they matter in your life. Even though I’m an introvert, I have always enjoyed when somebody took the time to see how I was or came to check on me, especially when life wasn’t going well. I believe we all want that, no matter how introverted we might be.

There is one moment I’ll mention. I was going through a hard time in my very early thirties. I was in the middle of a divorce from my first wife and I was living in our house by myself. She had taken her things and everything I owned was just in two rooms. I even slept in the living room on my futon. It was December and it was past my birthday and Christmas was right around the corner. My baby girl was with her mom and I was feeling low. On one particular Saturday or Sunday, I can’t remember which, as it started to snow, I got a call from a friend of mine, Jenny. She said she had something for my daughter for Christmas and wanted to bring it to me to give to her. She came by and we talked. I tried to leave my troubles out of it but I found it too difficult. She listened as I let things out, about how bad I felt.
She had no answers. I mean, why would she? You can’t give people answers sometimes. She did tell me something I needed to hear from somebody because when I said it to myself, it felt like a giant lie.
“It’ll be alright.”

We talked a bit more, we hugged and she left.

It was nice to just let things out.
And it was nice to have somebody tell me it would be alright, that I would make it through it.

She gave me some of her time when I needed it and I still think about that snowy, Winter’s day when I thought all hope was lost before that visit.

And I made it through it. And I’m better for it. My ex-wife met somebody better for her. I met somebody better for me. And we both share in the life of our daughter, our wonderful, loving daughter.

I helped myself with the hope she offered in those three words. I allowed myself to believe her and had hope.
I helped myself from the hope.

So, help yourself if you need help.
Help yourself when you need a friend to just listen.
Help yourself when you are given the gift of compassion.

And help yourself to the honey mustard pretzels. They are really good.

-Loyd Elmore
March 30th, 2018


I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.

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