I’ve been pretty helpless this week–at the mercy of my family and friends’ kindness to take care of me–to literally feed and dress me. Luckily, it’s been temporary and I’m doubly fortunate that I have a husband, family and friends who are willing and able to do such things for me.
As I’ve gotten older, I realize friendship is such a deep and dear commitment. I have a daughter in middle-school and I’m reminded almost daily of how in my younger years, the object of the social pyramid was to acquire–accumulate as many besties, friends and acquaintances into my circle as possible, lest I look “unlikeable”–regardless of true compatibility, interests, aspirations or inner-demons. It’s not until later in life when those things are actually figured out that the friend filter sifts those things out for you and you’re left with 5-7 buddies who you really share some of the aforementioned traits and volume loses out to substance…and work…and spouses…and kids. Try explaining THAT to a 12 year old. You can’t.
So, I’m a pretty controlling person–controlling of my surroundings, my circumstances and my outward presentation to the world, among other things. It’s served me well in most situations, so I’ve learned how turn this potential liability into an asset–channeling my evil power for good, in essence. (Don’t be too quick with the pats on the back, it’s only taken almost four decades of practice.)
You can probably imagine that this controlling nature and a state (even a temporary one) of physical powerlessness don’t exactly mesh well. But again, I was lucky in that I knew it was coming on… I was prepared for the fact that I was going to be recovering from a medical procedure that required being immobile, dependent and uncomfortable (even in pain). I knew that I was going to need to rely, trust and be dependent on others–lacking the control I not only relish but cling to as a crutch that keeps me feeling useful, content and well-mannered. Not only that, I planned it, the procedure anyway. After that, it was up to someone else, my husband mostly, to make sure I was cared for–especially in the first few days immediately after.
What I learned: I have an incredible group of loving, dependable people who accept me unconditionally. Also, I’m able to listen. I can listen to someone who is taking care of me and actually let them dress and bathe me, make me food and watch me sleep. I also learned who maybe I shouldn’t rely on, and that’s just as important too, and it’s not so bad, because I have more people who I can. Lastly, some folks really surprised me…and what’s more, I let them instead of keeping true to what my expectations were–I let go of my expectations and decided to go with the truth instead.
So what’s the big deal? I’ve always considered myself a gracious person. I write thank-yous, I am polite… But not accepting help when it’s offered ISN’T really gracious, is it? Granted, I had no choice, but it was an important lesson I learned this week: being gracious and thankful is important for you–everyone deserves a gift every once and a while–and to your giver… Think about it… How do you feel when you give something and the recipient is resistant, cautious and tentative? You feel bad. You may question the quality of your gift. You may question the quality of the recipient. So I am grateful. I am thankful. I am blessed. And I am dressing, bathing, feeding and caring for myself again. Life is really good.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net