Monday, October 22, 2012

Don't be afraid to Ask for help!

There comes a point in each of our lives when we just can't do everything on our own.  Our resources are tapped, our bills are overwhelming, our medical conditions are out of control and we just need some sort of help just to make ends meet.  No matter what your situation or what you are going through, don't let pride and dignity stand in the way of you turning to others for help and assistance.  I have been living on disability for almost 7 years now.  I am not ashamed of that fact, I worked hard and paid a lot of money into the system to get the amount of disability that I get.  However, there are times when that disability money doesn't reach far enough and doesn't cover all my bills and expenses.

Just like this move into the new apartment, as much of a blessing that it has been, I was still stretched to my limit, money and funds were not there to cover all the expenses of moving, and as you are aware from my earlier posts, I have no furniture and I have borrowed everything that I have in my apartment currently, except for the TV and minor stuff that I could find on discount or at the pawn shop.  With the help of my father, stepmother and neighbors I was able to at least have an air mattress to sleep on, a dresser to put my cloths, a table to eat on, and a couple of chairs to sit on.  All I had were my clothes and my computers.

Now with all of that being said, I reached out to my friend Jeff Allen, he is a big HIV/AIDS advocate and volunteer in the community that I have met and become acquainted with.  I told him that I was looking for furniture and some help. That I have been thinking about renting out my second room to someone, so that it would defray some of my expenditures and help with income.  He sent me an email about an organization that might help me.  The organization is call the Ministries For Christ Outreach and since I didn't know exactly what to say, I sent a very long email about my situation, my health and condition and what I was looking for help with.  Now, I sent this email on Thursday night, and I hadn't heard anything from them, but I figured that they were just busy helping others and that they would eventually get to me.  I was right in a way sort of, see I got a call early this morning from Pastor Lisa Polite, my email had gone into her spam folder on her computer and she hadn't seen it, and for some reason she just happened to look in there and saw my email. For those of you who are still "doubting Thomas's" understand that she told me she normally doesn't look in the spam folder and for some reason this morning she did.  You tell me that if God isn't at work in my life, and answering all of my prayers, why did my email catch her attention?

See, I am convinced that God is watching out over me, and is sheltering me in His mighty arms, because, of all the beautiful and wondrous things that have been happening to me lately.  Well, let's continue on with this story, she called me this morning and asked me some questions we talked for a bit on the phone, and she asked if she could come and see me this morning around 9 am.  I said that would be great.  Let me tell you she brought me enough supplies and food to last me quite a while.  She truly blessed me beyond words.  I mean rice, can vegetables, can fruit, soup, spaghetti, sauce, mac-n-cheese, lunch meat and bread, just so much, toilet paper, laundry detergent and the list goes on and on.  When I say she blessed me I am not being figurative, but literal.  I was taken away with the generosity and kindness of a lady that had never met me.

So you see it never hurts to open oneself up and ask for help when you truly need it.  Just last night I was worrying how was I going to last till the beginning of the month when I get paid again because money was running out.  Before I went to sleep last night I had asked God to help me through, and behold this morning I was woken up to a blessing beyond measure.  Now, Pastor Lisa is a great deal like me, she has so much positive energy and love pouring out of her, that I felt an instant bond.  I asked her if her organization and ministry needed help, that I wanted to be apart of the program. I explained to her some of the things that I want to accomplish, and have been trying to start here. Like the housing referral program and housing assistance programs.  She told me to keep them in mind because those are the types of things that they would like to expand in what they currently offer.  We talked for quite awhile, and I showed her my blog, and I felt so very comfortable with her.

I told you not too long ago that we never know where casual conversation is going to take us, that we don't know what doors each encounter is going to open for us.  What I didn't tell you is that you just need to be open and receptive to God's love.  It doesn't matter what you have done, or what your situation is, you just need to be open too it.  Because His love is unconditional and doesn't require any effort or work on your part. It flows through you and into you and energizes you.  Trust me and I tell you that being open and receptive is how His blessing flow to you.  So there is no shame in admitting that you can't do it all alone, there is no shame in reaching out to organizations and asking for help or assistance.  Trust me that there are people out there that understand what you are going through, perhaps they have gone through similar things themselves.

If you ever find yourself in need and you don't know where to turn too there is a number that you can call it is 211 it is to the United Way.  Call that number they will ask you a few simple questions and be able to refer you to services in your area.  They help all sorts of people, people in crisis, people who are homeless, people who need assistance with utilities and back rent and all sorts of other things.  That is the place that I would start if you don't know who else to turn too.  Keep in mind that you also have a church family that you can reach out to, speak to your pastor, and see if they might know of some programs or assistance that you can apply for.  There are government programs, grants, and other types of public assistance that are available to those that are having difficulties.  Today the world has gotten more sophisticated, once upon a time you used to have paper food stamps that you had to present at the register when you checked out and everyone knew that you were on public assistance. Today it is all done with a credit card, and only you and the cashier know that you are on food stamps.

If you qualify, I think you should go down and apply for them.  They are a big help and will defray some of the cost that you have to spend out each month.  If you are like me and don't qualify, because you make too much money on disability or whatever, there are other types of assistance you can apply for.  Trust me when I tell you, look around you and reach out.  A closed mouth finds no answers and gets no help. You have to be vocal about your situation and your problems if you want to get help.  I keep telling you that life is too short for you to hold it all inside of you.  Plus, do you really need the extra stress, worry and heartache?  I honestly don't think you do.  So be honest with yourself and your friends, let them know what is happening with you. Because believe it or not someone else close to you might be going through the same thing or a similar situation and you can help each other out, exchange information and find the help that you both need.  Talk to everyone, be honest, let that pride go.  Stop your worrying and do something about the situation before it gets any worse.  The last thing you need to do is let things go and let them build up until there is no possible solution to the situation.

Keep this in mind "Life doesn't come with a remote control, if you don't like the way something is get up and change it yourself".  You have to be willing to work hard, and make a change because when you help yourself you are going to see that the blessing will start rolling in.  You have to take that leap of faith and just try, do something for yourself and trust that everything will work out and believe me it will.  All you have to do is try. Push down that fear and worry, I know they are what is holding you back and keeping you from taking action, because if you don't nothing is ever going to change and you are going to be stuck in repeat.  Repeating the same process week after week, month after month. We have to do something, change something in order for us to break free from the rut that we have found ourselves in.  Asking others for help is a start in that process, and let me tell you it is a process, nothing ever changes over night and if it did I would be worried about it.  How many times have I told you the easy things in life are not the ones that we value. It is what we have had to work hard for and strive the most for that mean the most too us.  Each of us needs to feel a sense of accomplishment and that we are making progress, if we don't we feel trapped, and depression can creep in.  Keep your guard up don't let depression get to you.  As I have told you before, it doesn't matter what you have done today, what trouble you got in, or what crisis you have found yourself in. Tomorrow is a new day, brand new no mistakes, a clean slate, and you have a chance to do it all over again, this time differently.

Don't be afraid to reach out and let your story be known, it isn't going to make you a different person from who you are.  Are you really that afraid that people are going to see you differently now because they know what you are going through?  Maybe they will begin to see that you are just a person like them and have problems just like them and maybe they have some help or advice to offer you.

Also keep in mind that if you are going through some medical issues or health concerns that there are agencies and support out there to help you.  You might want to start with the case manager at the hospital or medical center that you were seen at to find something that might be able to help you.  If you are gay and have housing or health concerns check out your local gay community center or speak to your infectious disease doctor because they know of programs and agencies that can help you.  I can speak from the HIV/AIDS standpoint that there are agencies and funding out there to help you.  Contact your local public health center to get in contact with them.  If you have been disabled and out of work for over a year you may even be eligible for assistance through your states Vocational Rehabilitation, they might be able to send you back to school to get retrained in a new field, they can help you procure a job.  There are all sorts of programs out there to help you become an independent and functioning member of society.  All you have to do is look for them.

I just want you to be aware, that if you don't speak up and don't ask for help you are never going to get it.  The squeaky wheel gets the oil, not the ones that make no noise.  There is no shame in applying for government assistance, and programs that are out there to help you live a comfortable life, and if you are ill, check into all the resources and help that you can find. Drugs, hospitalizations, doctors and tests all cost money and can be very expensive.  Look for alternatives, patient assistance programs, agencies and groups that cater to your specific illness they are out there, you just have to reach out and talk to them.

Keep in mind that each conversation you have can open a tremendous amount of doors and opportunities, just be open and receptive.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B