I was listening to the Patrick Madrid Show yesterday, as I do almost every morning while I am getting ready for the day.
There was a woman who called in. She was quite emotional because her cousin had recently passed away. The loss of her cousin was especially devastating because, unbeknownst to her family, she was silently suffering from cancer. No one knew because she wouldn’t allow any one to visit her.
The caller said she wished that she had known about her cousin’s illness! It was such a shock to learn of her passing. The caller was certain that she and her family members would have done all they could to support their loved one. What a blessing and comfort the family could have been to her in those final days. However, for reasons she may never fully understand, the cousin didn’t want anyone to know she was suffering.
Perhaps she just didn’t want to be a burden, perhaps she couldn’t face the teary-eyed loved ones and goodbyes, perhaps saying it outload would have made it real. Who knows? She and the Lord are the only ones who can answer that.
But it got me thinking and I realized that…
I am a thief! As much as it pains me to come to this realization, I pray that my admission will help others.
Allow me to be a bit more specific. The problem that I have faced is that I steal the opportunity from others to be a blessing.
This is something that I have been working on for awhile now, and while I have made great strides in improving, I still have some work to do.
Honestly, I didn’t realize that it was a problem. It’s not even something I do on purpose. I just don’t want to be a bother, or a burden.
Maybe, you do it too. Here are just a few examples.
If I have my hands full and someone asks if they can hold something while I grab my keys, I’ll usually say, “No, thanks, I’ve got it.”
If someone waits for me and holds the door, I might say, “Oh, thank you. You didn’t need to do that.”
If our family is hit with the flu and a friend says, “Can I bring you all some dinner?” I would probably say, “Oh, that is so thoughtful of you, but we are doing fine.”
Or another mom might say, “You should let _________________ come over and play sometime so you can get a little break.” ” and I might say, “Thank you for the offer, but we have plans.”
Why is it so hard? Pride maybe?
Maybe it’s part of the culture. I am a child of the 80’s and it seems like the messaging I got from TV, magazines, music, etc. was,
“You can do it all yourself! You don’t need help from ANYONE – especially a man. Find yourself. Do whatever makes you happy. Be all the things. Do all the things. If you fall down, rub some dirt in it get up and move on. If someone offers a hand, refuse and get yourself up. You can do it!”
I also think it’s part of my upbringing. My grandpa, who I was very close to and spent a lot of time with, was a wonderful man who would help anyone, anytime, with anything. He was very generous with his time and resources and I admired that about him – and strive to be like that. Though he enjoyed helping others, he was never one to ask for help, or want help if offered. He was very clear that never wanted to be a burden – and even at the end of his long life – he never ever was.
But had he allowed me, I would have done ANYTHING for him!
I know people who have suffered serious illnesses, and their family has had the opportunity to step up and be there for them. It is truly a comfort to both people.
It is so hard to watch someone you love suffer and you know you can’t make them better. However, being able to make them homemade chicken noodle soup when it is the only thing they can stomach due to nausea, or clean their home because they don’t have the energy to do it, or mow their yard and plant flowers, so when they look out the window they can enjoy the view – can be an enormous blessing to the giver and receiver.
So, the next time someone offers to lend a hand – even (and especially) if it is one of your children) – fight the urge to say ‘no thanks’ and allow them to be a blessing to you! Saying ‘yes’, to the small ways people want to bless us will make it easier to say ‘yes’ to help and support when the big things happen.