Having a health crisis really highlights the fact that no matter how self-reliant, independent and capable you consider yourself to be, there will be times when you must rely on other people – plain and simple. As a mom, one of the goals in raising my children was to help them be independent, capable adults. It is one thing to have a 3 month old crying helplessly for you or a 3 year old needing your help to tie their shoes or help them get dressed. It’s a whole different thing to have a 20 or 30 year old who is totally reliant on you, unless of course they have some type of disability. I am not talking about that as I know several moms with adult children who need their constant and daily help for that reason. And I not only pray for them but am constantly in awe of their total devotion to their children.
I am talking here about a perfectly able-bodied young adult who is relies on his or her parents instead of growing a backbone, getting to work and learning to take care of life themselves.
That being said, even the most capable, able-bodied, independent, self-reliant person will experience times when they either physically or emotionally need help. It’s at those times when we have to set ego aside, admit we need help, not see it as weakness or a flaw, ask and be willing to receive, with gratitude. As challenging as asking is – receiving can be just as difficult for many of us! We all like to be the givers, but we must all be willing to receive as well. Giving and receiving – those are the two sides of the same coin and we must have both. In fact, if you insist on only giving or only receiving you become stagnant as you quench the natural flow God intended.
Maybe you are used to being the giver and you feel uncomfortable receiving – anything – help, a compliment, encouragement. As wonderful as giving makes you feel, it is wrong to deprive someone else of that joy. That’s food for thought…
I have been learning this lesson in a deeper way. As a mom you expect to help your children. We love to give and nurture and bless our children in any way we can. In fact, if we are honest, we love being needed by them. At least I did and still do. You don’t really expect them to have to be there to help you and it can be a very humbling albeit gratifying experience. While it feels somehow wrong for your child – even an adult child – to be cooking, cleaning and caring for you – when you stop and see their love and devotion you can’t help but feel gratitude that they have grown into these loving, selfless people.
That’s something I experienced. My daughter who still lives at home while pursuing her Masters absolutely stepped into my shoes cleaning the house, shopping, paying bills, cooking and taking care of her dad while I was in the hospital, as well as being there with me every day. When I got home she became as she put it, “my personal chef” making all my meals, serving me, sitting with me and doing anything I needed.
Each of my sons, who live in other states, got the ok from their jobs to work remotely and each spent a week with me – my son Matthew staying with me while I was in the hospital and my son Christopher coming to stay with me when I came home.
To say I struggled a bit with having them do so much for me is an understatement, but God opened my eyes to see it from His perspective. I began to praise Him for these incredible human beings He allowed me the privilege of raising. I remember reading something Rabbi Lapin wrote about Jewish wisdom saying we should allow our children to do things for us as it increases their love for us. I could see that truth in my experience.
(P.S. that is a picture of me and my beautiful daughter taken this past June on my birthday.)
Do you find it difficult to ask for help? Do you find it difficult to be on the receiving end?
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