From the time my brother was able to hold a spoon, it is reported he sat in his high chair and when someone offered to help him with his food, he firmly stated, “Feed self!” That seems to say we are born with a desire to be in control or depend on self, wouldn’t you agree? But that’s only one personality, one case, one toddler. I’ll let you in on a secret: he was much the same until his death, though life, as it always seems to do, taught him some lessons in having to depend on others along the way!
My mother once told of taking some cooking to an elderly woman in the neighborhood where they’d just moved. As I recall the story, the woman didn’t want to accept it, stating she “didn’t want to be beholden to anyone.” Don’t you wonder what, in her background, made her that way? She refused to accept an offer of friendship. My mother never explained her reasoning in the original reaching out to me, but knowing her heart, here is how her thoughts went: “That woman is all alone and she must be lonely. I could just make a smaller dish of baked macaroni and cheese for her to have for her supper. That way I could meet her when I take it over to her.” Well, meet her she did, but sadly the path between the houses was never worn down. It would appear that woman’s situation was more about control than independence. We could guess that someone or something in her past had betrayed her trust so she wasn’t going to risk such ever again. Wouldn’t you love to be the person, with God’s help, to help crack that shell?
It seems we’re all like my toddler brother in that we have at least an independent streak running through us like a vein of gold through a rock. That doesn’t mean our whole self has to be permeated with independence.
Each of us has met someone who has betrayed our trust, but it doesn’t follow that everyone we meet is going to do likewise. How many wonderful friendships will we lose if we control the number of people we allow into our lives because 90% might betray us?
Most people who are helpers appear to have found that healthy balance of standing in the gap when needed and stepping aside to allow others to be the ones there when they, the original “Johnnies-On-Call” need a listening ear or a helping hand. Are you one or the other, or have you learned how to balance both?
M. Sue 8-23-2011