HELPING

Just read an article about ‘helping’, or rather, asking if someone needs help. The gist was, just jump in and do something. If someone is struggling with bags, say something like, ‘Here, let me carry this one for you’, or if they are attempting to move something heavy, grab an end and help push or lift or whatever. When you ask if someone needs help, initial reaction is almost always to say , ‘no thank you’. This is something I have learned through nearly a quarter century of chronic, debilitating illness. ‘Is there anything I can do to help?’ is NOT going to prompt someone to say, ‘Why yes, could you cook dinner for me?’ or ‘Yes, here’s my grocery list. I shop at (name store)’. That’s not how it works. Drop off a ready-to-heat casserole. Ask for a shopping list when you are going to the store. Not, ‘Do you need me to do some shopping?’, but ‘Let me have your shopping list and I will pick the things up for you.’ ‘Here, let me make the bed,’ ‘I’m just going to do a quick vac before I leave, hope you don’t mind.’ DO, don’t ask what to do. Has anyone ever actually called you when you’ve said, ‘Call me if you need anything?’. No. How about, ‘Here, let me clear up those dishes for you.’, or ‘I’m just going to take the trash on my way out.’ Like that. The person you are helping is NOT put on the spot asking you to do something for them, not made to feel like the needy one. These things matter.

I have a friend who always takes the empties and the trash whenever she leaves. She usually doesn’t even mention it, just does it. I have another friend who shops for me every week when she does her own shopping. She just emails me to say, ‘send me your list’. These are the people you want in your life, even if you are a random stranger in a store and they help you get something off a high shelf, just asking what you are reaching for, not if you want them to get it for you. This is what ‘helping’ means. Not asking, just doing.

It’s April. Cold April, but mostly sunny days. Buds look like they could pop any day now. Second floor means eye level with the treetops across the street. Love it. April is my birth month. It makes me happy. Spring has sprung and all that. Although in New Hampshire, that was never the case. Snow, more like. Some of my favorite things for April:

Not there yet. This was before the trees were butchered by the Highway Department.
The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden

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