I love to help. I love to be the one that people come to when there’s a problem. I love the idea of cooking meals for people, driving people places, looking after their children and other great things.
I don’t love to be helped. I’m a very independent person. Doing things alone means a lot to me. I love being in control and getting things done.
Which means that the last year has been very difficult for me. Gradually I’ve found myself in the position of someone who needs to be helped. The help-ee, you might say. Family and friends bring us the odd meal and take me shopping, help clean our house and drive me places. It’s pretty hard. I always found it easy to be the helper but this new role is one that doesn’t fit me. It’s like putting on a new dress and realising that it’s too short and the sleeves are in the wrong place. It just looks stupid on me. I’m not the help-ee. This isn’t who I am. It ruins my own view of myself.
It takes a certain sort of grace to be helped. It requires a tearing down of pride. At times, I just can’t bear it. It feels as if everything is being taken away from me right down to my ability to cook and clean in my own home. After all, I should be able to do things for myself, right? Wrong.
I think I’m learning the real meaning of ‘The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.’ Sometimes I’m tempted to have a chat with the Almighty and set him straight: ‘You know, Lord, I’d much rather be able to do things for myself. I’ll trade back again. You can have your grace back and I’ll have my little independent world in order again. Thanks.’
But in my sane moments, the ones where I’m looking to my Lord, I realise that in the taking away itself there is a new giving. God never leaves you with nothing. That’s not His nature. When He takes something away he replaces it with something new and something better. Just like you’d expect from a ever-loving, gift-giving, cup-overflower like our God.
And so, my job is to pray, ‘Lord, thanks for the taking, thanks for the giving. And for now, give me ever more grace to be helped.’