I went to Panera with Mom last Friday as we do almost every week. There was a woman there with three young children, probably all under three. Obviously, her hands as well as her heart were full. I was waiting for the food when her name was called. She began piling the food plates, attempted to wrangle the kiddos and had her young daughter follow with another plate. Standing there waiting, it seemed I should offer to help, so I did. I can't remember exactly what I said, but the look she gave me indicated that my intent to do something kind was interpreted as a complete insult. "No, I have it", with a delayed "thank you though" after it was too late to withdraw the daggers I had already gotten.
Of course I replayed the "event" several times in my head and after venting about it to my mom, I realized I am often guilty of the same reaction I received. It is not easy these days for me to accept help. It indicates that I am unable to do something, and this was also probably what the woman thought when I asked her if I could help. Her reaction made me feel terrible and I'm sure I've caused the same to others when they've tried to help me.
From the time my children were little, I have had one rule, "Be Kind". Their dad asks them every night what they did that day to be kind to others. We are big on that four letter word.
I'm recently realizing that along with initiating kindness, it's ok to accept it as well. We do not necessarily help someone because they need it, we help others because we care about them, love them and/or just wish to spread kindness.
I'm definitely a work in progress when it comes to accepting help from others, especially these days. I'm stubborn, and I want to believe I can do things on my own. Most days, that is indeed the case, but sometimes it's not, and I really do need help. Sometimes I even ask for it. Since June, I have not been able to drive. As a 43 year old mom, that is not an easy restriction. I have had to rely completely on others for driving my children and me places. I cannot just get in the car and go somewhere. It's hard to lose some of the independence I once had. However, I'm grateful I have the blessings of many who step up to the plate on a daily basis.
"Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it."
Whatever the reason we are offered and given help from others, it seems we should be gracious and always grateful in our response. I am far from being an expert in this area, but I do plan to continue working on it and taking my own advice.
"Accepting help is its own kind of strength." -Kiera Cass