I love to help. I even love to help at things I can’t quite even do. Which poses a problem sometimes. I ended up being less of a help than I intended to be.
You name it, I want to help with it. I LOVE being part of a team. Working together towards a common goal. It’s maybe the thing that most fascinates me about marriage – getting to be on a permanent team with someone. But even now, I love our small group leadership team, I love working alongside my co-workers, and long to be on a team with some of my favorite friends, living on mission.
I’m not especially handy, so when I volunteer to assist with house projects, it’s more of a morale thing. I bring the music, the snacks and the enthusiasm, but I need to be directed in how I can actually be involved. I remember helping my guy friends fix up their house in college, and having to say more than once, “Can you show me how I can help?” They were glad to have extra hands, so they showed me how to strip the wallpaper, then how to paint over the wallpaper, and how to paint the trim. I loved being involved, and while I wished I intuitively knew how to help, I also understood that I couldn’t know everything.
This is true years later when I offer to help a friend. Often, I need to be trained in how to do something. Which in some ways defeats the helping.
Or does it?
In being someone who doesn’t always know how to do the thing she wants to help with, I’m learning to be teachable and empathetic.
Tell me how I can help you.
I’m not saying that I’ll do it perfectly. I’m not even saying having me along for the ride wouldn’t create more work for you. But I am saying that I’ll be there with you. I’ll jump into whatever you’re doing willing and able to help.
What if I let the fact that I often don’t know what I’m doing prevent me from helping?
What if I let the fact that I haven’t experienced something prevent me from coming alongside someone else?
What if I let my fear of creating more work for someone prevent me even offering?
I’d definitely be less available to friends. I probably would learn less. I’d for sure not develop empathy in the ways that I am.
As a 26 year old single in a community full of married friends, some with babies, I can often feel like I have nothing to bring to the table. I don’t know the complexities of the lives they’re walking through. I can let that prevent me from offering to help. But then I’m stuck being friends with people who are exactly like me, and in the same place in life, and that’s not fun.
So I’ll keep offering to help.
I don’t have the answers. I can’t fix your problems. But I can listen. I can respond. I can ask follow-up questions. I can come alongside whatever you are walking through.