Guest post by Jeff Mulder

“Jump off the boat” is a phrase my wife and I use.  It comes from the movie, Forrest Gump.  There is a scene where Forrest is all alone and is driving his shrimp boat down the river.  He sees his long-lost friend Lieutenant Dan on a dock, and without any hesitation Forest jumps off the boat, swims to shore, and gives Lieutenant Dan a hug.  Can you do that?

I cannot.  I will slow the boat down, pull it over to the dock, put the bumpers out, tie it up, turn it off, and then get out and give Lieutenant Dan a hug.

I do, however, know someone who does “jump off the boat”.  My wife, Jeri, does this almost every day for someone.  She makes plans just like I do.  She has things she wants to get done.  She also has things she needs to get done.  It does not matter.  When someone in need calls, she dumps everything to give that person whatever kind of “hug” she can.  Sometimes this is literally a hug.  More often it is lending an ear. And once in a while, it is an action like taking gym shoes to school, making a food delivery for a local restaurant, or going grocery shopping with a friend who just needs some face time.

Do you have this gift?  Are you able to “jump off the boat” for others?  If you do, I pray that you will nurture it.  While you are likely taken for granted and seldom get a thank you, I assure you that the people you “jump” for appreciate it.  Like me, they may be so caught up in their own issues that they do not even realize you are helping them.  If, however, you are patient, they may surprise you.  They may give you a hug back.  They may even say thank you.  Either way you may be the only person in their life who will “jump” for them.

If on the other hand you are like me and do not possess this gift, I have two suggestions.

  1. Practice!  I have been trying to “jump off the boat” for others for five years now.  I still cannot do it, but I am getting closer.  Instead of automatically saying no or making up an excuse, people now only get 2-3 seconds of silence while I get up the nerve to “jump.”  I doubt I will ever get there, but I will continue to try because it is so cool when someone does this for me.
  2. “Cover” for the people who can do this.  Do the laundry.  Go grocery shopping.  Cover the phone.  Essentially try to do what the person who can “jump” gave up in order to help you or someone else.  For me, this at least makes me feel like I am part of the solution.

Will you “jump off the boat” when someone in need calls?  Will you “cover” for others who can “jump”?  Try it.  God Bless.

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Wisdom of the Wounded invites people from all walks of life to share their caregiving stories and advice. Our "Guest Author" category features a variety of topics written by numerous individuals. To learn more about an individual author, read their bio at the end of their respective article. Enjoy!


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