Some dear friends of mine recently took in a days-old foster baby. DAYS! Naturally I want to help, so I showed up at their door last night armed with US Weekly and Ben & Jerry’s. (Ice cream and magazines are apparently what Valerie thinks is an appropriate response to new babies.)
And as I fed the little dude a bottle and laughed over the squirty noises he was making (I am VERY confident of which end that came out of, actually), I couldn’t help but think that: THIS. This is what I so often want to do. No, not feed babies. Actually this is more often my response to infants:
Really I just want a chance to HELP. To be there. To bring things. To entertain. When friends need a hand, I am delighted to help. If I only have the chance! And that’s the thing- too often we don’t even know how to ask for help. We think it’s an imposition, so we apologize and apologize and profusely thank the people that show up to help.
In reality, though, I think most people really do WANT TO HELP! “Let me know if y’all need anything!” seems to be a constant refrain when people face tragedy/life change/general craziness. Like me, they just need the opportunity to show up and lend a hand. Because so often, we don’t know how! We don’t know what to do.
So here we have both people who NEED help and people who so desperately WANT to help. Bringing those two groups together is probably more difficult than it needs to be because of:
- Pride: We don’t want to ask for help, and doing so exposes our vulnerabilities. But we’re not Lil Brudder and we can’t EVERYTHING by ourselves.
- Cluelessness: We don’t know HOW to help, so we just don’t offer it at all.
- Guilt: We don’t want to be an imposition on our friends, despite the fact that if we are living in COMMUNITY, we know that our mutual need for help comes with the territory.
And that may be the bottom line: we are (or should be) living in community. Helping one another, praying for one another, and bringing ice cream to one another.
Because really- who’s going to turn down a pint of ice cream called “CHOCOLATE THERAPY”?