Awhile back, I did some writing for a friend of mine. More specifically, I took the notes from her birth story and prettied it up. I threw in a few five cent words and made vague illusions to dancing and sunshine. My usual.
Imagine my joy and surprise when I drove home to this a few days later:
She made this with her own talented hands and heart. She selected the ribbon with me in mind, knowing that I'm a sucker for all things mod and dotted. When I saw it hanging on my door, I clapped my hands. Who knew that delight was green?
We passed our gifts back and forth, as if tossing a football. I captured her story; she captured the season.
Both of us gave freely, doing the things that naturally bring us joy.
I wish this happened more often.
The First Step is Asking
So often, my fears ensnare me like cobwebs. I am afraid to ask for help, because I'm afraid of putting other people out, or being a burden. I don't want to be the name that elicits an eye-roll. And so, I suck it up, and put it all on my own shoulders.
I head the "Pay it Forward" committee for a local service organization. The idea is that members request teams to come over to help out with jobs--you know, "many hands make light work." So far, we've raked leaves, cleaned out a garage, removed a rusty play-set, and painted.
When I help my friends complete a task, it's a sacrament. When we remove the dank, brown umbrella of leaves and the green ocean of grass feels the sun once more---that's holiness. It helps me more than it helps the recipient, because I know that I am doing something important and good.
And yet---after December, we don't have anybody signed up. People don't want to appear needy, or they are afraid to let other people see their mess, or they don't know where to start.
And while some people truly don't need the services, there are others fighting their own cobwebs.
We all, myself included, need to get over ourselves, and just ask.
We all have gifts. Some are obvious, and some are not, but we have them. Like fireflies in a jar, we lose our light if our gifts are contained. Speak boldly and share them. If necessary, provide a trade. Sometimes, people need to give in order to receive.
I will write one of your family stories....if you take me shopping and teach me how to find jeans that fit.
I will accompany you to a fitness class or go on a run with you....if you show me how to make Korean BBQ.
I will hold your colicky baby while you get your toes done...if you teach me how to place photographs artfully on my walls.
I will address your holiday cards....if you watch my son in the lobby while I get my eyebrows waxed.
I will ask for help....if you will allow me to help you.
How revolutionary could it be?
So tell me...what would you give? What would you ask for?