“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quit Helping Others

Even on crutches, I can snap green beans...

I hurt my knee the other week.  I can't put weight on it.  I can't walk without pain.  And when I realized that I would need someone to drive me to see the doctor, I knew immediately who I would ask.  I knew who would want to help me.  It was a friend who had asked me to help her after she was in a car accident.  Well, and actually that was two separate times.  I knew she would have no hesitation to help me in my time of need.  And she didn't hesitate.  She was more then happy to help me.  And she knew exactly the type of TLC I needed because she had experienced it from me.

Yesterday another friend came over and brought lunch.  After a time of conversation she looked me straight in the eye and asked me what else she could do for me.  I could tell she meant business.  That she hadn't traveled the half hour to see me just to be told that I didn't need her help.  Because I did.  And she knew it.  And I knew it.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I struggled with the thought of accepting her offer of acts of service.  Accepting things like quality time or gifts or touch or words of affirmation... well, that just comes so easy to me.  But having to mouth the words, "yes, I was hoping to work on the laundry today" or "there are some dishes in the sink that won't fit in the dishwasher" felt like I was betraying our friendship.  Somehow allowing her to literally see my dirty laundry just might curse our friendship.  And really - don't most people want to just be let off the hook?

Oh, how I wanted to say, "Don't worry about it" but I also knew that she might leave at that moment.  So, I swallowed hard and let her help me.  And each time she asked "What else?" new hot tears would form.  And I told her so.  I kept telling her how hard it was.  And then tears welled in her eyes, too.

“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: 
Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; 
then grab the initiative and do it for them!" 
 Luke 6:31 in the Message version of the Bible

Oddly enough it occurred to me that I was living out the Golden Rule.  I was doing for her what I want others to do for me.  When I offer assistance that it would be lovingly accepted as an act of service.  How often have I been let off the hook when I truly wanted to serve?  When all I felt I had to give was a few moments of time that could be translated into clean dishes?  But I was told, "Don't worry about it" and so I left feeling that I hadn't helped at all.

And for her.  She, too, was living out the Golden Rule.  Surely, I would be the first one she would call in a time of need.  "Put me on the top of the list, please!"  Because if she left without being giving the opportunity to serve me, how would she feel in her time of need?  Would she feel comfortable reaching out to me?  Most likely not.  But now we are in some type of agreement.  Some type of covenant.  That we will be there for each other in times of need. 

I mentioned to my son that I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of help.  That it was so hard to accept it.  And with true wisdom he said, "Quit helping others, mom.  Then you won't have this problem."  Touché, my son.


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