Just Smile And Say “Thank You!” So, here’s my lesson learned for the week. I was doing some laundry for a girlfriend who’d just had surgery and The Todd was making dinner. My friend was in tears–but not because she was happy for the help, but because she needed it and had to accept it.
See, she’s always the one to jump in on any charity effort or food drive or taking someone’s garbage can down to the curb. But to have to be the one sitting back and letting people serve in her time of need was KILLING her.
It’s easy to help: you get the good, warm feeling and go home knowing you did something to the better the lives of others. But there’s a HUGE lesson to learn in accepting service. When The Todd had his heart surgery, I remember our friend Lisa (who is an absolutely ferocious trial attorney) down on her knees scrubbing our bathroom with bleach. It was difficult to have people helping US.
My beloved girlfriend Jacey explains this so well:
“I think that not wanting to trouble others is only a small part of it. I think the bigger reason is that accepting personal help makes us feel vulnerable and exposed. We (especially women) all put on our strong, happy faces for the world. When we allow others into the depths with us, those facades are wiped away and they get to see it all: the cluttered closets, the dust bunnies in the corners, the sticky floors, the way we look with vomit in our hair. It’s hard to let people in to that part of our world, because we work hard to keep it hidden from most people.”
I think God or the Universe designs this so we can learn both lessons: it IS good to serve, but we HAVE to leave room for other people to gain their blessings by being allowed to care for us as well. I suspect I haven’t been as gracious as I should be in the past, even if I was grateful. Lesson learned: shut up and say “thank you.” We’re all meant to be here for each other.
This is one of my favorite quotes from a frequent guest on The Todd & Erin Show–Julie De Azevedo-Hanks is a brilliant communicator. I think her statement is such an elegant way to sum this up. What are your thoughts? How have you overcome your reluctance to graciously (and gratefully!) accept help?