i've thought a great deal about how difficult it is for so many of us to accept the gift of help from someone else. words with negative connotations such as "hand outs" and "charity" come to mind. we have managed to misconstrue the loving kindness of others as a poor grade on the perpetual final exam that is motherhood. we become embarrassed and defiant when others offer to help. "how dare they offer such a thing? don't they see that i have it all together? i am perfectly capable of doing things on my own." any of that sound familiar? even if it is not the truth, it's the version that we like to claim for ourselves.
believe me, i'm the worst offender. i don't like to admit weakness, in any form. i am ridiculously independent and stubborn. i like to feel like i have my act together. still, living like that is incredibly isolating. when i finally let my guard down and learn to accept the kindness of others, i have learned how real friendship looks.
one of my wise and wonderful friends quickly picked up on my hesitance to accept help from anyone. she stopped me with one quick phrase, "don't block my blessing." we all know it's true, it's amazing to give to someone else and the blessings do come back to us tenfold. if we don't allow people to do things for us, we're blocking the tenfold blessing that will return to them. in one small phrase, the tables had turned. instead of me being selfish for taking the help of others, i became selfish to refuse it. there is so much power in those four little words.
(yes, that's one of my toilets.)
if you think that you couldn't possibly accept the help of others, let me just tell you a story to compare all yours against. after i had my fourth sweet baby, my body went crazy. i had the sexy combination of arthritis, bursitis and tendinitis all at once (...and no, i'm not 95). every move i made was painful. i remember crying every time i picked up my baby from his crib because there wasn't a part of me that didn't hurt to hold him. add to that bit of horror the fact that my in-laws were coming to visit. i couldn't handle holding my baby, let alone a vacuum cleaner. one morning, there was a knock at my door. standing in my doorway were three of the greatest girlfriends anyone could ever ask for, armed with cleaning supplies and rubber gloves. they cleaned my entire house. you want to understand a new level of humility? stand by and watch your friend on her hands and knees, scrubbing the toilet in your bathroom.
could i have cleaned it myself? probably. would i have figured a way to block out whatever pain i was feeling and suffer through it? i'm sure i would have. was it difficult to stand by and watch others do what would have been my responsibility? absolutely. did i cry with gratitude when they left? undoubtedly. were they blessed ten fold for blessing me? i can only hope. without question, that incident has motivated me to be there for someone else. if someone has a hard time receiving what i'd like to give, you can bet i'm pulling out all the stops... "don't block my blessing." i'm not sure what ten fold is going to look like but i'm certain it will be amazing.
I love this one, too! Having recently been the recipient of help after a baby (help I wasn't always super gracious about) this really speaks to me. Unrelated to the post, but you know what may bless me most about this? You had baby number five. After all THAT (it sounds horrible!) you were willing to risk enduring pain like that again...you make me want to be brave...and your kids are so lucky to have a mom with such a huge loving heart!!ReplyDelete
I loved this post. This reminded me of what it really means to show up for someone. I find that these days, it seems that text messages, emails and facebook posts are taking place of simple, real contact and that includes being supportive to our friends and family. I have actually used this example a few times recently in women's workshops I lead to exemplify what it really means to SHOW UP. Texts with "xoxo" isn't enough. And the point around receptivity is so key. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete