You tend to hear it when someone performs what seems like a remarkable feat. It could be great or small. It could be feeding the poor, housing the homeless, caring for someone who has an incurable disease.
“That person is a saint!”
But the problem with saints who are still alive is other people are all too willing to let them do too much.
It’s not that these living saints aren’t doing amazing, awesome things. They are.
It’s just that it might be better to lead with an offer of helping them out in turn instead of simply calling them a saint, angel, or other pleasing but ultimately empty word.
Because it’s far easier to stand around murmuring in praise and then retreat to your own safe life than it is to step in and give this saint a hand. Respite care for a caregiver. Showing up at someone’s fundraising event. Donating to their cause.
See, a lot of the time, there isn’t enough time for this person to do all they need to do. So they borrow time against themselves, and just using caregivers as an example, it’s already been proven that neglecting yourself wears you down considerably if not dangerously.
And also a lot of the time, these same people don’t always feel that they can ask for help. Or they think that if you wanted to help, you’d help, and if you’re not offering, it means you don’t want to. It depends on your culture, but we can be far more conditioned to thinking we need to carry the load by ourselves than otherwise.
So the next time you find yourself calling someone a saint, do a mental step back and figure out something you can do to actively help out.
You can still use that “saint” word. Just maybe use it after you’ve helped.
I couldn’t find anything I liked for “saintly,” so have some alpacas.