“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out.”A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on
Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.'” – Leo McGarry on The West Wing
All of us have made mistakes and failed in some way and learned how to get out and move on. We help others most when we’ve already found ourselves in the same struggle or failure and know the way out. When we’ve never experienced the problem or even when we count the cost, we are tempted to help from the sidelines with pat answers and cliché advice – easy, but not very effective.
So, how are we helping others in the holes we’ve been in before?