“It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely help another without helping himself.”~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
But he’s eleven, I said to myself.
But you need help and there aren’t enough hands. Ask him.
“Could you help me?”
“Sure,” he said. Suddenly he was sitting straighter and paying close attention. Did he actually seem older all of a sudden?
Was his growth dependent in some way on my need?
In seconds my innards had gone from churning to calm, and the hour with fifteen “little ones”, as I like to call them, rolled forward seamlessly because every time I needed help I reached out to someone.
That’s the way life is for me: a need is automatically met when I open my eyes to what’s right in front of me, waiting to help me.
What if I hadn’t been aware of how everything I needed was readily available when I had my adventure last Friday (What if Today…Your Lug Nuts Fell Off?)?
I’m pretty sure that I would have started crying because I felt stranded, helpless, out of control, and angry at the Universe for messing up a plan that had no room for variations right or left.
I didn’t cry.
I started walking to find a phone,
to call my mom,
and made a friend,
who needed to hear, “You’ll quit when you’re ready,”
and who wished me well when my mom arrived
to bring me home
to get help with the car
and to bring me back to the hospital
to be with my dad,
where I ran into a friend that I missed,
who hugged me goodbye,
as I went to the store to buy a camera
with money from one of my mom’s clients
who said, ” Tell Betsy thank you
for the lift from the bus”
when my mother was stranded because of snow and ice
and I helped her out.
See? It all worked out just the way it was supposed to – the way it was planned so that all of the “right” people would be involved at the time and place that we all needed to be connected for each other.
…as long as we asked for help.
But I’ve had to work hard to be comfortable asking for help. It hasn’t come easily. When I started to feel rewarded for reaching out, something clicked.
What are the rewards that have convinced me that reaching out for help and support is vital to relationships and growth?
Honestly? Each time I ask for help I feel as though I can hear and feel a sigh of relief from and a deeper connection to a person who suddenly sees me as a fellow human being that just might need something they have to offer. It was as if an invisible wall or barrier to that connection had come down, and behind that wall is value- in a nutshell, someone feels like showing up mattered- that they matter.
I also feel joy.
First I feel anxiety that I’ll be judged for being a source of my own problem; I don’t know enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m ….fill in the blank.
But when I ask someone to help me, and I watch as pieces of a solution start coming together, I get a thrill- a rush of adrenalin that witnesses that something magical is happening. And that makes me happy.
But the best part about asking and receiving help is the joy I feel in the other person. They stand a little taller, and usually they smile. Isn’t it the best feeling knowing that you have something to offer to someone in need, and that if you hadn’t shown up, well, who knows? Maybe your being there made all the difference?
And perhaps that was just what you needed today?
- Why, if we love being asked to help, do we hesitate asking for help?
- What is it about being asked that feels so good?
Do you know?