I will be the first to admit it – I am not always a champion at asking for help. Heck, for a long while there (most of my adult life), I did whatever I could to avoid asking for support. One time in my twenties I chose to change my own tire in the rain at 11pm at night, so I could drive myself to the tire shop first thing next morning, and make it to work on time, without having to ASK for a ride (God forbid I ask for help in having the tire changed in the first place). But I have slowly come to realize that this behavior is actually selfish.
Not too long ago, a dear friend of mine lost his former wife to cancer. He was the primary caregiver for her, and while they were no longer married, they were still very much partners as parents and in general. After she passed away, I offered my friend to fly out and visit him for a couple of days, which he accepted. I wasn’t sure what to expect, just that I wanted to support him during this time. It ended up being four days of cooking meals, making popcorn and watching TV, talking about life, giving hugs, talking about nothing, crying, laughing, doing yoga in the snow and being quiet.
When I left, my friend thanked me for coming out. I know it mattered a lot to him. But I also knew as I left that this trip was just as much for me, as it was for him. It can be hard to see those we love go through tough times. But I think it is much harder to watch them go it alone. I know I can’t change someone’s journey and that we all have to go through our own lessons – as much as I sometimes wish I could make things different. But we might ease the pain a little. And when we allow others to ease our pain a little, their hearts fill in turn.
I will carry the blessing of this visit with me for the rest of my life. I now know that when I ask for support, I am potentially giving more than I am receiving. And it doesn’t have to be for life’s big events. It can be as simple as getting a ride to the mechanic.