Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Accept Help and Support

In case these musings haven't made it clear - I am a nurturer.  Until recently, it has been extraordinarily difficult for me to accept help, never mind ask for it. I know that I am not alone.  Lots of people are uncomfortable in the role of recipient and prefer to be the person doing the giving.  It can be incredibly difficult to let yourself be helped. 

My attitude about this changed abruptly after a very brief conversation at church. I had made dinner for a friend that was really going through a rough time.  It was a time of stress and turmoil and challenges...although, thankfully, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  I asked this friend if the family would be home later in the day, so I could drop off the meal I had prepared. 

The reply was "this whole thing makes me so uncomfortable.  It is really nice, but I can feed my family."   That gave me pause...and after a moment, this was my reply.  "I can understand that, but to some degree, this isn't about you - it is about how much we all value your family and our friendship with you, and this is the only thing that we can do to help.  We want to do something to make things better - to feel like we're helping you get through this, and this is for us as much as for you.  You're doing us a favor by accepting our meals...they are all we have to give."

It feels really good to give - and it is hard to receive.  In the gracious receipt of gifts - whatever form they take - you uplift the giver.  People want to help.  You are valued and loved and they understand you're going through a difficult challenge...emotionally, financially, perhaps even spiritually - and they want to make you feel better. 

I am so blessed in that I have an amazing network of support.  Being a born and bred New Englander, I have never strayed far from where I was raised.  I went to college nearby and have spent my entire career within a 30 mile radius (with the exception of a 10 month stint in NYC).  I have great contacts and the most amazing friends anyone could ask for.  I can not even tell you how wonderful it feels to post "I have an interview" on Facebook and have more than 30 "likes" and almost as many comments wishing me luck.

Allow yourself to accept well-wishes, prayers and even meals.  Food nurtures the body, but the love poured into the making nourishes the soul.  Accept graciously what is offered, and write a heart-felt and meaningful thank you.  You will feel grateful and valued, and the giver will feel blessed and appreciated. 

As you travel further toward your destination, embrace the wonderful gifts that you might otherwise overlook.


  1. I too am uncomfortable asking for assistance in my personal life.
    As I read the line "Accept graciously what is offered..." I thought of this stanza from the Delta Zeta Creed: "May I give graciously of what is mine;"
    Your post is a good reminder that both concepts, giving and accepting, must occur, and all the better if they can both be done graciously.

  2. Joanne, that is a perfect analogy! I am so glad that this resonated with you!