This is what my latte looked like this morning. I loooovvveee getting a 1/2 caff soy latte with a little bit of honey. Saying it makes Michael groan, I’ve been sarcastically called a princess for ordering it, but when I hear other people order their coffee drinks they sound just as ridiculous and complicated. What I don’t like is paying for them or having to drive to get one so this morning I busted out our $20 espresso machine and made one. And this is what happened. The milk was too foamy and still cold, the coffee was watery, I couldn’t taste the honey, it was just gross. Michael looked at it, laughed a little, and asked if I wanted him to make me one. I paused for a minute, contemplated drinking the sad concoction I had made, and then sighed and said yes. Accepting help, accepting a new latte, is ridiculously hard for me.
I’ve always wanted to be able to do absolutely everything on my own. I think it’s Beyonce’s fault (all the women, who independent, throw your hands up at me), but really it’s because I’m stubborn and I like to have all the glory for whatever I accomplish. Oh man, that sounds so awful now that it’s written out. Ick, sorry guys, I’m working on it. Being independent is portrayed as so sexy, strong, so kick-ass. I may be flipping in between this post and watching the Destiny’s Child video for the song… Right now they’re defeating a bad guy all clad in matching, flowing, sexy blue outfits, then they zoom off on a motorcycle. I mean, after watching that, how could you not want to be capable of the same?
Being out numbered two to one on most days now has altered this desire to do it all on my own for the most part, well maybe not the desire, but the capability for sure. Yesterday I was leaving the grocery store and had not strategically parked, as I normally do, by a cart return, so I decided I could get two kids and my groceries to car sans cart. Ha. Jack saw the Girl Scouts on our way out and decided he must have another sample and a meltdown ensued. A nice man who seemed to be waiting for someone by the doors kept dodging my cart which kept ending up aimed in his direction as Jack kicked around. He picked up my groceries and asked if he could carry them to my car. Immediately in my head I tried to figure out how I could get everything and everyone to the car, started to say, “No, I got it!” but realized I did not. There was no way this was happening without this man. “Yes, thank you sooo much.” He was so patient as I carried Eliza’s carseat, and Jack’s floppy body by one arm across the parking lot to my car. Superheroes, I tell you, they’re everywhere.
We live in a society where we’re taught the importance of teamwork (oh how I despised every group project in high school and especially college) but everything we hear on the radio or see on TV is how we should do it ourselves, how we can improve our personal efficiency, etc. I have bought into this and believed it was the best way for so long. But you know one thing that brings me the most joy? Helping people. I love to be able to help people get something done or figure something out. But if everyone were as stubborn as me I would never ever get to do this. There would be a void I could never fill.
How many times I have shut people down who love the same? How many times would it have redeemed their crappy day if I had just said, “yes, I could totally use your help,” and they were able to see that they were capable of good, that they were needed, useful, had a purpose. That is what I shut down in others when I refuse help. That is what I feel and need sometimes when I ask someone if I can help them. Sometimes we need reassurance that we’re capable, useful, purposeful beings, and sometimes the best way to be reminded of that is helping someone who really needs it, or really doesn’t but is willing to let us into whatever it is they’re doing.
We can’t be great at everything, it just isn’t possible. We can try, but at best we will do it all, just ok, when it could be GREAT if we had other people helping us accomplish our goal. 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 says..“The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.” I’d say this is true outside of the church to0. When we shut others out, regardless of where we are or what we’re affiliated with, we shut down something inside them, something they were created for. We ignore the capabilities that they have that we don’t and we call them and all that they can bring to the table useless. I am guilty of this. I have felt this.
So, while my first inclination may be to do it on my own, I’m going to give it my best effort to accept help and to keep my eyes open for others who need it too. We’re all in this together- all of us, yes all of us, whether we like it or not. So why not live in a way where we compliment each other, help each other, propel each other forward. That’s my goal for today and for tomorrow and for every day that follows. And I’m going to need your help to do so.
From David Ezra’s The Nice Book