Knowing When to offer Assistance

Every now and again something comes along that “demands your attention”. This happened to me a few days ago. I have a younger brother who has been absent from the family for over 7 years. No one knew where he was. Thanks to a very compassionate police officer from a small town in Minnesota, who took the time and effort to do some research, we found the answer.
After receiving a text, I immediately called to find out details. As it turns out, he has been in this little town for about 2 months. He was homeless, in and out of shelters, and the officer was concerned because of the upcoming cold winter months ahead. The officer arranged for us (my 3 sisters & I) to call his private phone at a certain time to talk with him. We called and had a nice conversation. My sister invited him to come live with her in Las Vegas. I told him I would buy a ticket so he could leave the next day and I sent him some money for food. It was all agreed. We also found out that 2 years earlier, somewhere near Milwaukee, he got frost bite on his two feet. Gangrene had set in and both of his feet had to be amputated. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to endure all that, without any support from any family member. Poor guy.
Yesterday, an hour before the bus was scheduled to leave, the officer called. My brother was having second thoughts about going and they thought if he talked to me, it might help. I talked with him but it was evident he didn’t want to go. He went into a paranoid rant for about 5 minutes then said “I don’t want anyone’s help, leave me alone”.  I thanked the officer for trying then called my sisters. We were all devastated! About an hour after the departure time, I got a text from the kind officer. My brother did not get on the bus and did not pick up the money I sent him. A few hours later, one of my sisters called the officer, asking if she could pay for a motel room for our brother. The officer drove to find him but he refused the offer with a final “leave me alone”.
As hard as it is, sometimes you just have to realize that there is nothing more you can do. As sad as it is, if the person doesn’t want your aid, you can’t force them to accept it. At that point, you have to realize that you’ve done all you can and be satisfied with your efforts. It doesn’t mean I will stop praying for him, in fact, he needs prayers now more than ever.
I learned another valuable lesson, too. I have been closely watching the Standing Rock activities and the heavy handed, brutal tactics used by the Morton County Sheriff’s department, the rise of young black men being shot and killed by police, etc. This latest event makes me realize that there are other compassionate police men and women out there who are not at all like that.
Cheers to you!