For the past week, I've been sick. Not the sniffling, annoyance of a cold, but the hard-hitting painful slam of strep throat and a double ear infection. My husband kept musing aloud, "I didn't know adults got that," as if I'd been diagnosed with diaper rash or teething.
I couldn't sleep for the pain, I couldn't function--which meant someone else had to step in to care for the kids, to cook, to clean, to keep things going. I in no way pride myself as some sort of force of efficiency, but my role in the home is mine alone, and when I'm not around there's a lot of slack in that area. I keep the rope of responsibility as taut as possible, and last week that rope was a tangled lump on the floor.
Matthew had to call in a substitute for two days (unheard of for him), our family and friends dropped off meals, and we made it through. My pride and guilt panging and quaking with each hour. How could I get sick? Why am I not getting better yet?
You know what I had to do? I had to let people help me. And before you say: oh this is the blog post where Beth learns to let go of pride and let people help, well--you're only halfway there. What I really learned is how to help others. And helping someone else does NOT begin with "Let me know if I can help..." because that's a request that will most likely never be answered. I didn't ask for meals--I never would have (pride, there it is). They simply appeared, they were so needed, they were delicious. "Let me know if I can help," only helps the person asking. The one needing so much can't untangle enough to articulate needs. And certainly doesn't want to be a burden (maybe this is also pride).
You want to help? In big ways--bigger than little old whiny me? Dig in and DO IT. Don't even bother to ask: look around, see the need, take it on. Help in the best way you can.
The sermon at my church touched on that in a much larger, soul-quaking way, but the heart is still the same: when you are in need and someone says, "here, let me get that for you," you feel validated, seen, known. Your burden lifts, something deep and resonate within you takes a weary, needed breath.