I had minor surgery last Wednesday and went back to work a week later. I really wasn’t ready to go back, but the day’s schedule was fairly easy based on the activities of the school day, so I went. The day began with me inadvertently cutting someone off and nearly being broadsided. Honestly, I simply didn’t see the other car coming.
Although I am not on any medication, I am feeling foggy from the anesthesia and have been for a week. It’s slightly better each day, but not enough for my liking. After my scrape with disaster, I gripped the steering wheel, alternately praying and talking myself down from the ledge as I continued driving.
Early last week, a friend from church asked me to look over something he’d written so that I could edit and proof it, which I was happy to do. However, when I agreed to do so, I wasn’t thinking about being out of commission from the surgery. As a result, I only finally got around to it yesterday. In texting with him about it a couple of days ago, he offered to bring a meal over. At first, I was tempted to say no because I was going to be back to work and felt bad having someone cook for me if I was “okay enough” to go to work. I’m not always a good recipient.
If people offer to help you or do something for you, let them do it.
After giving it some thought, I realized how ridiculous that was. Keeping up appearances and playing the hero are exhausting, especially if you have a full life of work and family already. If people offer to help you or do something for you, let them do it. I’m certainly no hero and my kids probably would have eaten grilled cheese tonight because my husband had a meeting.
Instead of grilled cheese, I was treated to a lavish meal of dal, chicken curry, rice, salad and dessert because my friend is from Sri Lanka and he and his wife know how to throw down in the kitchen. I had secretly hoped it would be a traditional Sri Lankan meal and my hopes were realized. We all polished our plates off with gusto and not a complaint was heard! A curry-induced peace settled over me as I thought about how blessed we are to have such caring friends.
Keeping up appearances and playing the hero are exhausting, especially if you have a full life of work and family already.
A couple of other friends did the same this past week in bringing a meal to us. Their kindness meant my husband didn’t have yet another thing to worry about in addition to me being of little use around the house. It was a blessing to be the recipient of food I didn’t have to shop for or cook.
I can remember on many occasions doing the same for other people, so allowing myself to be on the receiving end should have been easy. But somehow, I didn’t want to put people out, even though it was their idea to bless me. It seems I need to get over myself and be a more gracious recipient.
I suppose the other lesson in all this is that the kindness of my friend would not be diminished by clutter in the entryway or underwear on the table.
Admittedly, when I got home today I was in a rotten mood. Dead-tired and frustrated at the state of disarray in my house, I was feeling overwhelmed and sorry for myself. We are usually in a near-perpetual state of disarray, but things had really escalated to critical mass while I recuperated last week.
Even though I was exhausted, I hurried around, clearing away folded underwear and socks from the coffee table and emptying the dishwasher. Then there were the crumbs ground into the family room carpet and a minefield of Legos on the floor. Out came the vacuum. Sniffles and sobs of self-pity emerged also. Of course I cleaned up the enclosed porch as well, which was littered with shoes of varying sizes and styles. I worried that my generous friend would break his neck delivering my dinner.
Was all that necessary? Really? I would flip out on any friend of mine who had just had surgery yet ran around cleaning before I showed up with a meal for them. For the second time since I woke up, I was alternately praying and talking myself down from the ledge. Get a hold of yourself, Self.
I suppose the other lesson in all this is that the kindness of my friend would not have been diminished by clutter in the entryway or underwear on the table. The whole reason he was bringing dinner was because I needed a hand, so if things were a hot mess, it would have made sense to him I’m sure. He and his family are human so they’ve undoubtedly had their share of clutter and chaos too. I needed to simply receive the gift of a hot meal and remember that at some point, I would be the blesser and not the blessee. No vacuuming, fuming or fretting were required on my part. I encourage you to avoid them also and receive graciously when someone wants to bless you.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. -Proverbs 11:25
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