Saturday, March 04, 2006

"Help, I need somebody... not just anybody..."

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends became violently ill with food poisoning. I went to her apartment, got her medicine, held her hair, went for more medicine - whatever she needed.

And I learned a valuable lesson from her: It's good to ask for help.

She wasn't shy about asking for what she needed. She was too sick to worry about it. She'd ask me to hold her hand. To rub her back. To bring her more Pedialyte. And I was glad to be able to do it for her.

This past Tuesday, I had surgery (I'm fine). One of the things I was dreading the most was waking up from the surgery and being helpless. You can't walk on your own. You can't dress yourself. You can't do much at all until the anesthesia wears off.

And even then, I haven't been able to do much.

My parents came to stay with me for a few days and it was hard for me to even ask them to do things. But I had no choice.

Accepting help is not something I'm good at. I like to be in control; I hate feeling helpless. And there are times in the past when I have broken down and asked people for help and gotten the opposite - which teaches you not to ask.

The trick, I think, comes in asking the right people for help.

Or at least being able to accept help when it's offered. Because, really, when we care about someone, we want to help them. It makes us feel as good as the person we're helping.

When my parents left on Thursday, my girlfriends (including the friend above) showed up with food and love. I still tried to do things on my own - cut cake; make ice packs; look for the cat who had wandered outside. They wouldn't let me. I had to sit back and let them take care of me.

And it was nice.


Anonymous eff said...

That's the trick -- being able to accept help and understanding that people *want* to help us.

When you think about it, if it were your friend who had surgery, wouldnt' you want to help them?

To a certain degree, it should be considered a good deed to accept help ... just like it is to give help.

1:14 PM  
Blogger pamela said...

an excellent point, effie.

10:11 PM  
Blogger elengil said...

Life's lessons are often painful. Reaching out for help and having our hands slapped is something we don't want to repeat, so we learn not to ask.

But life's lessons can also be painful in a good way. Having friends reach out to us when we hurt and holding us tight. That is one of those beautiful pains that make us cry because it's so wonderful.

When we fear the pain that might come from reaching out, we lose the chance of feeling the love that is out their for us.

We have to risk pain in order to find true joy.

10:44 AM  
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