Being the Helpee when you’re usually the Helper

Last month the hubs had orthoscopic hip surgery.  He’s had surgery before and I knew a little of what I was in for.  But this ended up being much worse than his prior surgery.

Right before his surgery I got a plate of cookies and a note from my new Visiting teachers.  I contacted one of them to thank her for the cookies and told her that the hubs was having surgery on a certain day.  Well, she was having a baby that day and I told her not to worry about it.

Somehow she must have because all of a sudden many people in my ward were coming up to me asking how they could help.  Since she was having a baby, I just decided to rely on family to help me and not worry about it. But the Relief Society President (bless her sweet, sweet heart) insisted that at least three meals be brought to my home.

I’m not good at asking for help.

There, I said it.

It was a huge deal just for me to mention to my new Visiting teacher in a Facebook message that the hubs was having surgery and I might need some help.  Huge.  I had to step so far out of my comfort zone.  I couldn’t even call her and tell her…I had to write it.

I think it comes from being raised to be very independent and self-sufficient.  I don’t need anybody, I can take care of  myself, right?  Okay, intellectually I know this is wrong, but I feel shame deep down inside for ever being vulnerable or asking for help.  Which is ridiculous because I never judge anyone else for needing help or being vulnerable.  Why do I expect more from myself than I do others?

It also stems from the fact I’m in a helping profession.  I’m the helper not the helpee.  I’m used to figuring out problems, coming up with plans, and helping others figure out theirs.

I’m used to taking care of others, I’m not used to being taken care of.  The only people I usually will accept from are the hubs, my mother-in-law, and my sister.

And then there came a time when I really needed help.  Really, really needed it.  I couldn’t do everything myself.  I couldn’t put on my star-spangled underoos and pretend that I’m Wonder Woman.  I was vulnerable.  This time, instead of being ashamed of it, I humbled myself.  I let others help me.  And they blessed my life.

My mother-in-law watched my children so I could worry about and be with the hubs in the hospital.  My sister took my older kids for the weekend so I could concentrate on taking care of the hubs instead of worrying about taking care of them.  My neighbors brought meals.  They offered prayers in my family’s behalf.  They offered babysitting.  They came over and checked on us.  They called to see how we were doing.  Some even brought meals when they hadn’t even been asked to do so by the Relief Society.

I hope they know the depth of gratitude I feel for all of them.  I’ve never felt so blessed in my whole life.  These people were my angels.  Their generosity and true kindness was like Heavenly Father reaching down and wrapping his arms around me.  I felt so loved, so cared about.

I will always be so incredibly grateful for my angels that helped my family during this experience.  You showed me the best of yourselves and the best of humanity during this time.  You might think that you didn’t really do anything that spectacular.  And maybe in the grand scheme of things, offering to watch my child so I could get an hour of peace, can’t be compared to nursing a colony of lepers for years on end.  But it was grand to me.  It meant so much to me that people actually cared enough about my family to show their concern.

You all know who you are and I love you.

Thank you.

“We cannot do great things.  We can only do small things with great LOVE.” -Mother Theresa

2 thoughts on “Being the Helpee when you’re usually the Helper

  1. I can completely understand you having trouble accepting help. We are similar in that we were independant as children and both working in a helping profession. I am glad you were able to step out of your comfort zone and accept help. Helping others also blesses those who do the helping. Denying someone the chance to help denies them of the blessing in doing so….now if I will just remember that next time I need help.

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