Because of our situation with Brian’s health/illness, we are often overwhelmed with offers of help from others. If you are like most, you know what I mean. “What can I do to help?” “Let me watch the boys for you.” “Can I bring you meals?” It is a great pouring of support from all around; however, there is a problem with this. WE ARE TERRIBLE AT ACCEPTING THE HELP. Because seriously, right now, we don’t need the help. We are coping fine for now. The kids are a welcome distraction and the fact that the “herd” of friends they travel with often ends up in my back yard, brings me joy because while they inevitably try to involve me in every tiff, I also get to enjoy their laughter and squeals. Cooking dinner is often one thing in my day that takes me away and makes me feel productive and creative. It brings me joy again. Dishes, um, not so much. Wanna come over at 7 and do my dishes while I enjoy a glass of red and watch? The thing is, I know there are some that would actually do this for me, but you can see why I may have a hard time accepting THAT bit of help.
Help is just something I don’t feel worthy of.
For instance, my group of church girlfriends who have blessed my life immeasurably, are constantly offering to help. I think they are rather some strange group of alien life in human form, though, because upon feeling overwhelmed recently, one said, “Let me come clean your house. I like cleaning houses.” Whaaaa??? Another said, “Oh LAUNDRY! I’ll help you do your laundry. I LOVE LAUNDRY!” I’m telling you, not human. Anyway, instead, they take me out. Well, we meet a lot as a group and I don’t think that would change regardless of our situation, but I feel like they are taking me out. They take me out and we laugh and talk and kick back and they make me feel like Angie, girlfriend, instead of Angie, wife of the cancer patient. Recently, however one of the girls, who is a stylist, gave me a gift cert for anything I wanted. It couldn’t have been more perfect because I was in dire need of a cut and I have no one I see regularly. Brian gave me the spa cert for Valentines Day and I was excited because I say they also cut hair there. Brian was disappointed because he did not give me the certificate to get a haircut. He insisted I use Shawn’s offer despite my reluctance. I am just not good at taking the offers of help. I was blessed by Shawn’s generosity. Was she blessed in return? I didn’t see how she could be. One of my girlfriends last week told me when I mentioned how difficult this was for me, “You know what my Grandma used to tell me you say when someone offers or does something nice for you?” “What?” I asked her. “You say, THANK YOU.” I told Shawn ‘thank you.’
K, J, and S (me in the mirror flashing)
(left to right) K, K, J, J, me, C, S
Brian has very few passions in his life. Well, that sounds wrong, but what I mean is that he is not selfish with his time or money and doesn’t demand things that I know many other men do that take these resources away from his family. He is, however VERY PASSIONATE about music. He loves his IPOD with a passion. He loves his 187 gig of music with a passion. It is his hobby and he derives great joy from all kinds of music. Not like my quirkiness with music, but great joy. Due to Brian’s weak right side, he often accidentally drops or kicks things. Over Thanksgiving, Brian dropped his beloved IPOD. He lost everything on it, restored factory settings, and reloaded it within the week. However, for the last few weeks, it has not been working correctly. This is Brian’s number one hobby. I mentioned this to Cheryl, my sister in law, who said she would mention it to Brian’s brother, Sean, because Sean knows of a place in town that quotes to repair IPOD’s. I told Brian Sean would probably look into repairing his IPOD. So, imagine Brian’s shock on Saturday when brother Sean walks in and says, “Bo, I know you mentioned you wanted me to bring my IPOD since yours isn’t working correctly, but I talked to Murph (Brian’s other brother) and we just couldn’t have that, so why don’t you go load this up instead?” Out of his pocket, he pulls a spanking new 160 gig IPOD and hands it to Brian. Brian is near speechless, “What are you doing?” he asks Sean. Sean says, “Happy birthday?” Brian’s birthday was November. It is April. We all know this was an amazing act of kindness and generosity from Brian’s family for Brian’s benefit and comfort. Brian was trembling later with humble gratitude, but I don’t think his family saw it. The difficulty with accepting the gift is that given different circumstances, his family would have said BUMMER regarding his IPOD and we would be currently researching IPOD’s. However, given different circumstances, Brian would not have dropped his IPOD, so how can you compare?
These gifts come because of our difficult circumstances. Brian said the hard part is that he doesn’t want to be “THAT GUY” that brings out these amazing sides of people’s kindness, “I know that sounds stupid to you, probably,” he said. “Makes perfect sense to me. Neither do I, but we are,” I told him. I hate one-sided generosity and what I feel is one-sided friendship. While Brian and I know we are good people and we love having friends, sometimes we feel as if merely our friendship is not quite enough in return. I am coming to the conclusion that IT IS. Brian and I constantly struggle with finding good in our circumstances. Maybe one of the goods is helping others find that special something inside themselves causing them to come out of their own comfort zone and give out of the genuine goodness in their heart. Maybe?