I have a hard time asking for help. This is not a new trait nor is it one that I’m particularly proud of. Even as a young child, I would become incredibly frustrated if I couldn’t complete my homework or some other project independently. This resulted in a lot of frustration for both me and my parents. I’m talking complete melt down with a face full of tears. Ultimately, I’d call my sense of independence both a best personal trait and one of my biggest downfalls.
Throughout college I spent my summers working at YMCA camps. In my final summer there, a friend called me out. We were working to move some heavily weighted discs and it was a genuine struggle for me. I quietly kept doing my best to move these things but the struggle was obvious. My friend bluntly asked “Why don’t you just ask for help?” I don’t recall my exact response but I do recall that I fought her on her point. Here’s the thing though, if I were watching this play out rather than being a participant in the situation, I absolutely would have called it the way she did. Frankly, the job probably would have been completed faster as well. Her question has stuck with me over the years and I’ve gradually been more willing to ask for help when I need it.
Is there anything more humbling that a medical situation that forces you to rest and recover? A couple of months ago I underwent surgery that required some serious down time. No lifting anything over 5lb, limited mobility (short term), complete exhaustion despite pain levels being relatively minimal. If you no me, you know this was a struggle. Being a mom doesn’t typically allow for that kind of down time nor is it really in my character. I want to help around the house, cook meals, be fully engaged with my daughter. The choice wasn’t mine, my body (and my doctor) told me I needed to be still and rest.
A sweet friend of mine set up a meal train for my family. Have you ever participated in one of these? The idea is that people can sign up for a day to bring you a meal or they can give you a gift card to a meal delivery service. My ego said no to this but, thankfully, my mouth said yes to my friend organizing this meal train. As it turns out, we really needed this help. Even once I was feeling more mobile, I didn’t have the energy to cook for a few weeks. The kitchen stresses out my husband so it was incredible to have people supporting us in this way.
Not only did we eat during my recovery time, we felt an abundance of love and support. Friends took the time to choose foods they knew our daughter would love. They intentionally cooked vegetarian meals because they know I don’t eat much meat. People who I haven’t seen in a year sent gift cards to restaurants and food delivery services. Friends cooked meals that were full with nutritious ingredients – ideal for a healing body. Folks who are new in my life provided us with dinner when I least expected it. The thoughtfulness of all of this hit me so hard! It raised my spirits, eased my stress, and allowed me to fully focus on healing.
Here are the lessons. Allow your friends and family to help. Give them the opportunity to be there for you. On the flip side, be there for others in their time of need. There is no need to overcomplicate this either. You can do take out and drop it off if that is easiest for you. The love and support behind the meal is what makes the biggest impact.