One day it works just fine, the next day it doesn’t.
This time it was the back door. I knew I was in trouble when turning the doorknob didn’t bring the latch in all the way and therefore, I couldn’t close the door. Hmmm . . . So, I gave the door a good push. Success! I got the door closed, but then the stubborn doorknob would not budge. There would be no coming and going out the back door until . . .
But wait! I could use the front door. The deadbolt worked fine as usual, but on closer examination I discovered that doorknob had issues, too. I’ve figured out a lot of things since becoming a widow but this job . . . well, I needed help.
Why is it so hard to ask for help? To communicate what we need?
Maybe it’s because we don’t want to bother people or inconvenience them (my default). Or we don’t want to be indebted. Or it goes against our sense of independence. Or we don’t want the added attention.
I’ve done a little thinking about this. There’s something about community or interdependence that we miss when think we should be able to do life by ourselves. Perhaps we make assumptions about what’s good for others, thereby seeking to manage their experiences. Letting them decide (yes or no) lessens our anxiety and frees us up to ask for what we need, invite friends over, or offer our help to them.
The night of the door jam, I found myself pacing the floor with the phone in my hand. A voice echoed in my mind: “If you ever need anything, please call me.” So, taking a deep breath, I called.
“I’d be glad to help you, Sarah. How about my wife and I stop over tomorrow evening?” My eyes welled up with tears as I stuttered my thanks. The next day, I ran to Home Depot to pick up new doorknobs – and not the $9.97 variety either. In ten minutes flat our friend had the old locks out and the new ones in. Amazing!
And then they stayed. Unhurried, we chatted about our families, churches, and health concerns. About travel plans, my leaky gas meter, the house they would soon be selling. I will always remember their kindness in valuing our relationship enough to visit for a while. They blessed me beyond measure. I will think of them every time I open and close my doors.
Later, I thought of the joy I received from bringing a meal to a new mom, cleaning a friend’s house before her son’s graduation party, and visiting a lonely senior. I recalled the university students who shoveled two feet of snow off my driveway and had fun doing it. My friend with the green thumb who helped me with my garden and shared how coming over lifted her spirits. The brothers who cheerfully put in my air conditioners and left with a few of my husband’s Greek books. The rich fellowship with old friends who came for the weekend to replace my bathroom floor. We all need the give and take of community.
I’m learning . . . God meant it to be that way.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”