More than once in my life I have needed help. In college it was a six-week outpatient program for an eating disorder. When my baby had two open heart surgeries and was hospitalized for six months, I needed help on a grander scale. Lots of prayers, coworkers donating vacation time, neighbors mowing our lawn, grandparents who took me in, an antidepressant, legal advice to combat our medical insurance, nursing assistance to learn to care for him, medical opinions and counseling to cope with the disappointment and heartache … this help list is pages long. A different sort of aid was sought when our home caught fire while on vacation. I needed lots of hands to move our belongings out, then to move them back in. I needed help finding a place to live for nine months, construction advice, help wrestling fire-insurance agents, redecorating suggestions, and again, counseling to manage the stress and loss.
Like most folks, I don’t like asking for help, but with age I realize it is part of being a normal, humble human. My advice? Submit to this truth and watch life’s swells shrink as the rescue boat motors out to toss you a line. In the form of friends, family, specialists, strangers, people you’d never think of.
In a perfect world, the help I HOPE to give (part of my new collection, see previous blog entry) and receive looks like this … While at recess with my Fourth Graders, I looked up at the sky as the cool breeze rustled the trees next to me. Then I saw The Love Cloud hiding amongst the whipped topping – puffy, white cotton candy. “Look at the perfect heart in the clouds!” I exclaimed. The kids did not see it, so I helped them by pointing it out. We stood there in awe at this priceless beautiful vision that only lasted seconds.
Help that I crave asking for looks like this … My kindergartner friend had an assignment to deliver a joke to his class and I was his practice audience. I leaned in as he asked, “What kind of car does Luke Skywalker drive?” He smiled.
“Wait; don’t tell me.” My mind raced through Luke Skywalker trivia as I mentally mumbled the words “pod,” “saber” and “sky.” The only connections I know of from my two boys.
“Help, I don’t know.” Again he smiled as he burst out the answer, “Toyota!”
Then he repeated. “Toy Yoda.”
I wish all the giving and receiving of help was this beautiful, funny and simple, but it is not. No matter what the size of help, conditions of help or if you are on the give or get end of help, embrace help and rally around the fact it is here to stay.