"I should be able to do this," I thought to myself when trying to walk safely back to my car. This happened one evening after a dance class several months ago. I had just finished putting on my leg braces and gathered my things to leave the studio.
In that location in particular more walking was involved, and the ground was uneven. A few years ago that would not have been an issue, but with my muscles weakening due to my CMT, this is something I now face. During that evening, I notice a problem with my balance. In every step, I felt worried that I would end up tripping over myself and falling.
As I tried to hold myself steady, a friend came along by my side and offered to help. To be honest, at first, I was hesitant because I'm only in my early twenties, and even though my CMT has progressed, I should be able to do something as simple as walking.
After a moment, she held her hand out and walked next to me. I'm sure she saw it as a simple act of kindness. For me, that day brought a realization of the blessing of accepting help. When we begin letting others help us through this pain, we are inviting them to go along this journey with us. It is a reminder that we are not meant to go through suffering alone.
The Struggle of Accepting Help
However, I will be the first person to tell you that it's not always easy to let others help. Please don't take this the wrong way. If you have offered to help me in the past, I always appreciated it, but it's not always easy to say yes.
I have gone through seasons of feeling discouraged because it might have been something I considered to be simple, like opening a package or carrying a bag. My perspective used to be that letting others help me meant letting go of more of my independence. Have you felt this way before?
But, in the past couple of months God has blessed me with the remembrance there is a blessing both ways. I'm now grateful when a friend takes notice that I am needing assistance (sometimes before I even have the courage to ask). Then that same person is filled with joy because they were able to bless a friend.
The next time someone offers to help you, remember this is something that brings them joy. Even something as letting a friend carry your groceries or drive you to an appointment is a blessing to them and you.
And for all of you that are family members, friends, caregivers of someone with a chronic illness, I want to thank you. Thank you for the kindness and patience you bring. I'm sure you understand that it isn't always easy for us to accept help. As humans, we tend to feel as if we can do everything on our own. This is the case even if you don't have a chronic illness.
But, the blessings you show through kindness to someone who is struggling makes such a difference. Remember you are loved and valued because you are sharing Christ's love through the act of helping others.
How are you learning to accept help from others?
Are you going along side a friend on their journey of pain?