asking for help


peter was out of town this weekend. he's getting back today, and i am tired. tiiiiiiiired. this is the second weekend trip he has taken without me since keane was born, and both times i've just been completely exhausted by the end of them.

i really don't know how single parents do it. i've only had to handle all of the responsibility for about six days total of my son's little life, and holy cow, i can't imagine being on my own all the time.

and it has had me thinking. i have help in town. and i've used that help both times peter has been gone, but both times that help has been offered to me. i didn't have to ask for it, i just had to accept it. and i don't know that i would have asked for it if it hadn't been offered. obviously it was needed and appreciated. but we have this idea in our culture that we all have to be entirely self-sufficient and rely only on ourselves. it's like asking for help is considered a weakness.

not only that, but we often don't offer to help. that idea that we shouldn't ask for help unfortunately seeps into our brains deeply enough that we don't think others should ask for help either, we don't think others should need help either, and all too often we don't offer to help.

i'll tell you what, i'm so so thankful for my cashier at trader joe's yesterday. i had keane in the baby bjorn, and it was raining outside, so i was carrying a giant golf umbrella along with keane [which was an automatic umbrella, and i inexplicably opened it while waiting in line. good times...], and my purse, and then i had the groceries... she offered to have someone help me to my car, and even though i initially resisted a bit, she asked again. she didn't ask in a judgmental way, and that help - not worrying about lifting and moving groceries, or putting the cart away - helped tremendously. it was such a simple thing, but it made a big difference for me.

and how often is that true. we don't have to make grand gestures to make someone's life a little easier.
hold the door.
put the cart away.
invite someone for dinner. it doesn't have to be a fancy, exciting dinner.
offer to watch a single mom's kids for free for an hour or two so she can go to the store by herself.

strength is important, yes. but we are all weak in different areas. and we all need help in different areas. we live in an individualistic society, but the truth is we need each other. we all need help sometimes, and we all need to be helpful sometimes. we all need help to keep on keeping on at times. and we all need to help hold others up.

we weren't meant to have to do it all on our own. we were made to be in relationship with others. we were made to care about others. and we are called to love others.

at times, loving others means helping in different ways. it means opening our eyes to see the struggles of those around us, and finding ways to love them in the midst of their struggles.

it also means being vulnerable, and allowing others to share in your struggles. it means allowing others to help lighten the load.

we are all extremely selfish individuals, but we are also called to love others as we love ourselves. that means we're supposed to be as others-ish as we are self-ish. [yeah, i know, that one hurts.]

shared joy is double joy
shared sorrow is half sorrow
-swedish proverb

so do me a favor,
ask for help when you need it,
and offer help when you can give it.
i will too, and we'll just 
see what happens...


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