An all-too familiar situation:
Here’s the scenario: I see something going on in my surroundings – whether with my adult kids, or with a close friend, or even with a colleague at work. I think about it a lot, decide I know better, and make an assessment. A voice inside me says “stay out of it” but I don’t heed that voice. Another voice says, “help them, get involved, say something.”
Eeny meeny miney moe. Which voice to listen to? I listen to the second voice – the busybody one.
CLANG! I realize immediately that I shouldn’t have! Voice #1 inside me says, “you knew better than to get involved….”
Proactive or Reactive?
There is a new word the past decade or so: proactive. That refers to taking care of things ahead of time, planning for the future so that there is more chance of success. Pushing the buttons on the Remote Control – the mechanism that thinks we can control and take care of everything in the world. We are going to save the day.
Proactive is a great thing. But usually “proactive” is for one’s own life. Not someone else’s life.
In fact, when one gets involved in someone else’s life, it often only complicates things for them —– and for us. It doesn’t help.
Shouting (to myself!) to Stop!
So when I read about people in books and periodicals who have dilemmas “should I or shouldn’t I?”…..I want to scream through the pages of the book, “DON’T!….. Stay out of it! It’s a train wreck!” But then again, I can’t tell them what to do. It’s their life to live (even if it’s just a fictional account in a book!).I think unless something is in a life and death situation, or in a case of abuse or serious danger, OR if that person specifically asks for help (and even then it’s probably best to refer to professionals – a friend should never take the place of professionals), then it is best to stay out of it.
Prayer and relinquishing control:
Sometimes I really have to protect myself from places that I am not equipped to navigate the difficult waves. Prayer always is a good thing. We can pray for the well-being of others, let G-d take over, relinquish control. And then give them love and encouragement. And finally focus on the one place that we were given power to change: ourselves.