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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Making Deposits and Withdrawals at Your Own Personal “Help Bank”


“Giving does not only precede receiving; it is the reason for it. It is in giving that we receive.” - Israelmore Ayivor
If I read that quote a few years ago, I would have dismissed it phony and trite. Receiving the help from another person has always been a delicate, touchy subject for me. The question, “how can I ever hope to pay this person back?” is at the root of this anxiety. 

But I need help—I need it bad. I always have and there’s no other way around it. At this very moment in my life, people are coming out of the woodwork offering their help on this albatross of a four performance run of The Gospel in NYC in May—photographers, well-meaning acquaintances, cinematographers, and new and old friends alike. How am I supposed to pay them back… what can I do for them that makes their help worth their while?

The answer: I’m not supposed to pay them back… not directly at least. I’ve had to reconcile that there are times when my personal or financial resources won’t come anywhere close in return to what I’ve been given. But I can help a different person with the time I give, the money I donate, or the personal resources I allocate. The gift of help I give is a twofold gift I give myself: 1) I feel better for having helped someone, 2) I put a deposit into the “Help Bank” inside my brain—a place where when I make enough deposits, I feel comfortable asking for withdrawals when I need them.

Of course this idea of a “Help Bank” works with two caveats 1) You can’t actually keep score because it defeats the purpose of the delicate relationship between the giver and the recipient of help, 2) You must not overtax putting in deposits or taking out withdrawals on either side. As difficult as it may sound, the relationship one has with their “Help Bank” must be an organic one. 

Give with reckless abandon. And receive help when you need it because you deserve it.