A man falls in a hole…

From The West Wing, season two, Leo to Josh – when Josh is covering his deepest fears (and post-trauma, troubled behavior) so he won’t lose his job/identity/purpose/friends/center-

“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.'”

First minute and a half:

Sometimes people fall into holes too deep to climb out on their own. Don’t ask me how I know. Sometimes, if not for the one voice saying, “I’ll help you out, you’re worth fighting for,” we’d fall deeper, become more lost than ever.

That West Wing exchange (I am watching it on Netflix, currently), reminded me of this RSA Short. It’s an incredibly smart animation of a Brene Brown talk about empathy and it makes me so mad at myself for all the times I have been the person looking down in the hole offering a sandwich or a silver lining or an “At least…”

And it makes me so thankful for the times I have thought I was doomed to die in the hole, alone, afraid, trying so hard to look like I meant to be there and had it all under control, and some one just came and picked up the burden with me – even when I couldn’t ask for help out.

True confession: I have been among those people standing on the sidelines, shaking our stupid heads, giving dumb narrative to stories we can’t comprehend.

In times of trouble, when some one really needs help, our drive-by prayers or ten-point “do this” lists are really the last thing a person needs.


Watch this. See anyone you know?

But, this:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4.15-16 NIV

I am so grateful that Jesus still shows up, through flesh and blood people, He remains touched by the very feelings of our infirmities. He enters our chaos and our pain in the form of a friend with skin on. And through people so like Him they fairly glow reflecting HIs true nature, we are led out of captivity, out of the hole.

And finally, we can become those who can now (ridding ourselves of the head-shaking and wholly unhelpful commentary) jump in and comfort and help others out of their steep despair.

What a great plan. Jesus in us.

6 thoughts on “A man falls in a hole…

  1. I think Jesus said it in different words, but it’s the same thing. It’s why, when we are in the hole with no observable way out, rather than trying to escape the pain, we need to find HIm in a real way – proving that He actually is the answer – so that, when a similar thing happens to our kids or loved ones, we can jump in and show the way out. Hope that makes sense!!

    1. Oh and I’d jump in that hole with you! And if I don’t know the way out, we’ll find it together! :)

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