Monday, December 16, 2013

Help vs. Hard Work

"Let people help you!"  This is a statement I have heard almost daily for the past 11 months.  I get it.  Helping people is good.  In fact, one of the main things I teach my children is the importance of helping people, why we help people, and how to help people.  For some reason (possibly cynicism and maybe even stubbornness) I have a severe problem allowing people to help me.  I realize, to some, me resisting help is me being difficult.  Truly, that is not my heart.

I was brought up in a family where you worked for what you had.  I have never struggled with entitlement issues, because my Daddy, Mama and Grandmama instilled in me the importance of hard work.  My Daddy always worked 2-3 jobs to provide for our family.  My Mama worked full-time and went to school full-time to make a better life for our family.  My Grandmama was a product of the Depression-era, and lazy and complacent were not in her vocabulary.  It was modeled for me from birth to be a hard worker.

I remember my Mama teaching me how to keep house.  My siblings and I had daily chores and Saturday chores.  We were trained to do everything from dishes to laundry to toilets.  Daddy taught us how to work in the yard.  He had us mowing, trimming bushes, and weeding flower beds from an early age.  My Grandmama was a home improvement genius.  If she saw it on TLC, she could do it, and by golly, we would be right beside her tackling whatever project.  The three of them taught us how to cook different dishes...(my favorites are Mama's chili/taco salad, Daddy's biscuits, and Grandmama's roast).  My brothers and sister and myself were not given the option to work.  It was mandatory.  There was no begging or bartering.  Learning to take care of our home was what we did as part of the family.  We didn't get allowances.  We worked in our family and as a family.

This work ethic is part of who I am.  I take pride in my home and my cooking.  I work very hard to keep our home clean and running.  Being the only adult has brought a new set of challenges...thankfully, for big jobs, I have willing experts not too far away.  However, I have enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to take care of things myself.  My recent accomplishments were unclogging a drain (requiring some minor disassembly and reassembly), fixing a running toilet (insert old man joke here), and hooking up our blu-ray player (yes, I did have help with that one).  I don't see this as me being stubborn or being afraid to ask for help.  I see this as me learning to be independent and to handle whatever job pops up.

In my day-to-day life, I know I can come across defiant.  This is not my intent.  When I am in the midst of a task, I like to see it through.  A recent example happened this past Saturday as I was working with my amazing church family on a community outreach project.  We had finished the majority of the work, and we were cleaning up.  We were packing leftover supplies into boxes and relocating them from one room to another.  Naturally, I picked up a box.  Within 30 seconds, I had at least 5 people fussing at me to put the box down.  I didn't see the big deal.  I had the box in hand.  Yes, it was heavy, but it wasn't hurting me, and I wasn't complaining.  Yes, I may have had a snarky response about me not being a delicate flower, and yes, I may have thought that people were implying I was too weak to carry said box.  BUT, the intent of my heart was simple...move the box...get to work...finish the job. 

I love that people want to help my little family.  I am so grateful for the INCREDIBLE people who have reached out in whatever capacity they felt led.  My kiddos and I would be lost without the help and support of those who love us!  I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for acts of kindness that have helped us along this path.  Just be patient with me, dear friends, if I insist on carrying my own groceries...gently remind me that it's ok to receive help...help me remember that we are all called to help one another.  I so look forward to the day when I can be a blessing to others the way so many have blessed me!

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