Piles of boxes mislead many movers into believing the finish line is near. Already most of the kitchen equipment and pantry supplies rested securely in stacks of boxes in the garage. Books, closet storage, linen cabinets, bathrooms and my grandmother’s china securely packed left the house with a tinny unfamiliar echo. As an experienced packer I felt confident the final items would be a cinch to pack. I’m like that, overzealous and overconfident. Sometimes that’s a help, other times a hindrance.
Fortunately God has a way of honing those double-edge blades for His glory. Our days living in Denver leveled my soul and self-reliance, not a process I want to relive because I was a poor study. One day a friend asked how she could help. Not “if” she could, but how. That single word followed by when cornered my self-reliance. Usually I’m in her shoes asking questions like, “When can I bring you dinner?” or “Do you want me to watch the kids on Tuesday or Thursday.” Most of us like being in that position.
I’m a classic American mutt that doesn’t like to admit I need help of any kind. Along life’s path I correlated personal shame and weakness with asking for and/or receiving help. Perhaps it’s because I don’t recall my parents reaching out for help, perhaps because my self-expectations are ridiculously high. In either case, the question before me tested my previous learning.
Humble to the Soul
“Yes, I’d be a fool to not accept your help. Thank you,” the words rolled off my lips with ease though inwardly I trembled at the notion. I didn’t know how to use her help, but the humility in receiving opens an entirely new world of blessing. I didn’t know then that this was a prelude to the amount of help I’d need on the other side of our move; I didn’t know how often I’d need to ask for and receive help.
School just began for the California schools and instead of using her time to catch her breath and hit the running trails in peace after summer’s business she came to my house day after day. Unprepared for the emotions that come with such a move her friendship anchored me in reality while practically helping.
As an average American I find myself willing to hire help before asking friends. Nobody wants to burden a friend, but all of us want to be there for our friends. We don’t always know how help shapes us, but the blessing that comes with a humble yes is unprecedented. The beloved C.S. Lewis says, “Friendship is birthed the moment two people look at each other and say, ‘you too?’”. Friendship may start at that moment but lasting relationships grow when we allow others to share the burdens and unsavory parts of life along with the joys, triumphs and celebrations. Those are friends that stand the test of time.
What side of help are you on today?