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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More Blessed...

A number of years ago, I read an article in Discipleship Journal in which the author said something to the effect that for most of us, it's much easier to give than to receive. We don't particularly like "needing" and we're apt to turn down offers for help...because quite simply, we're prideful.

A few years later, I arrived at a friend's home as she was making pancakes for her kiddos and her 5 year old offered me one. I had eaten breakfast earlier, but didn't feel like turning her down, so I accepted and my friend said, "Oh Good! We love it when people accept our food!" Her comment stayed with me as I realized, I too like it when people accept my offers for food, help, a favor or anything honestly...I really like it!

Then in 2007, we left our support system in SF and arrived in St. Louis, pregnant (me), with a tube-fed, non-walking toddler and three months later we were in the hospital. I knew two women, had the chance to attend a bible study & a MOPs group one time and suddenly we were in need and these gals stepped in...and the receiving began.

Over these last 3 1/2 years here's a sample list of how generous people have been:
  • My mom's dear friend's sister (got that?) came to our home while I was on bed rest to feed and care for Elizabeth
  • An Infectious Disease Fellow (and fellow member of the Hospital Auxiliary) who I'd never met showed up to clean my house and bring me groceries...twice.
  • Friends and colleagues of Matt's who barely knew me threw us a baby shower for Ruby
  • Friends of friends (who we didn't know) gave us food, baby gifts, a deep freezer & ordered a stork to sit on our lawn to announce Ruby's arrival
  • So many people gave money to help us cover medical bills, meals and special therapies.
  • Family & friends (many who are fellow mommies with crazy lives of their own) have flown in to help and encourage us.
  • People have babysat, cooked, cleaned, and run errands for us, not to mention the countless prayers, emails, phone calls and letters we've received.

Fast-forward 4 years, and here we are again, in the midst of what feels like one crisis after another. Once again we're on the receiving end. In fact, Last week, a colleague of Matt's cooked this incredible three-course meal for us, complete with wine, sparkling water and Valentine's themed plates and napkins!

And while I still cringe at times when someone I don't know well brings me groceries and sees me at my worst, I am also becoming aware of something else as I hear yet another person say, "Thank you so much for letting us help you guys." I'm beginning to realize that I can't have real relationship with people if I don't need them. As long as I'm the one helping, and I'm the one "ministering" or doing the favors, our relationship is unbalanced and ultimately, my pride stays intact. But when I allow someone to see and meet my needs, I truly believe it is a gift for both of us...a healthy dose of humility...and a step toward true community.

What would it look like to make an effort this week to be the recipient of someone elses kindness? For me, I know, it I know that sounds weird, and maybe no one will stop by and offer you a meal, but maybe someone will hold the door, and you can graciously accept rather than waving them ahead. Possibly, someone will offer to let you go ahead of them in line, or help you to your car with your groceries or to pay for your coffee, and rather than refusing, you can simply say, "That is so kind. Thank you".

Maybe what they're offering is not something you desperately need and it would feel awkward to accept. Or on the contrary someone may want to give you something that touches on a real, perhaps embarrassing need...and to accept will take real courage, and real humility. Either way, perhaps it would be good for them AND for you...it could build community...cultivate gratitude...stir up generosity...and that would be good for all of us.

2 comments:

Glender House said...

What a beautiful way to look at relationships. I love what you said about real relationships mean needing other people.

Misha Leigh. said...

Your words made me cry - and it's 100% true.

I am really sorry to read of the new crises and yet also thrilled to read you have a new princess on the way!

Prayers and congratulations to you this day!