One time I ordered a gold Casio calculator wristwatch on eBay. I know, I know — I have incredible taste and a penchant for fine timepieces.
Unfortunately, the item arrived broken, as the wristband’s clasp was bent a wrong direction. This type of occasion usually makes me very grumpy — although I love e-commerce, I absolutely loathe returns.
Fortunately, a new client entered treatment that same week: a young man who suffered from a severe methamphetamine use disorder.
Now some folks are afraid of meth users. To me, they’re God’s gift to, well, broken gold Casio calculator wristwatches.
The following day, using three paperclips and the same number of minutes, my client corrected the clasp issue. He smiled big and handed me the item. (In no time, I was completing intricate calculations while dazzling my peers.)
About three weeks later, that same client was struggling, coming to grips with his recent life — one filled with binges, theft, heartbreak, and self-destruction. He wasn’t self-pitying; he was exploring reality with honesty and sincerity for the first time in a long time.
In one session he looked up from tears and said, “For several months now, no one has trusted me with anything. People hide stuff when I come over. They have every right not to trust me,” and then he paused.
“I want to thank you for letting me fix your watch.”
I didn’t know how to respond, mainly because I had no idea my repair request impacted this fellow in such a way.
In life, sometimes it’s hard to tell who to turn to. We wonder if that guy will be able to help, or if that friend will really listen. We question if she really cares or if he’s going to give us honest feedback.
In my experience with asking for help, the worst thing I do is deny someone an opportunity to assist or downplay if that request will have any benefit.
My encouragement is to give that person a try — for we don’t know how much he/she needs that chance.
by Jack Britton