You Don't Have to Be In Crisis to Ask for Help
When people you'll never meet lose their homes from a hurricane, when your next door neighbor loses his job, when your best friend loses her baby, it's uncomfortable asking for help when your loss of sanity is the only thing at stake.
It's easier to accept (and even ask for) help when our tragedies are "real," when they feel legitimate. No one would fault you for needing childcare so you can go to chemotherapy.
We assume we know the difference, the things that deserve help and the ones that are rooted in selfishness. I mean, there are people without food, parents, soap, civil rights. Who are we to complain because our kid got a phantom stomachache and we had to miss our massage appointment? Crisis is relative, and our lines are deep and distant. Help only belongs to the desperate.
For the first month of Annie's life, I didn't make dinner once. Our people, one by one, entered our home, trading armloads of macaroni and cheese for a sweeter armload of baby girl. I'd tell them how easy she was, how she was sleeping well, how great it was that my husband got three weeks of paternity leave, and immediately felt guilty for eating the food they brought that I could've easily found time to make myself.
I wasn't desperate, so I didn't think I deserved their help. Crisis became a prerequisite for simple community.
But if we wait for tragedy to strike before we ask for help, we lose. Crisis or not, the simple act of asking creates a connection, and life with connection goes from black and white to color.
I once asked my friend Amy to bring me a BK Whopper just because I was pregnant and wanted one, and when she tapped on my backdoor 15 minutes later with a burger (plus a Dr. Pepper I didn't ask for but immediately required), I had a deeper love for her dimpled smile and generous spirit. Sure, we'd been friends awhile, but that simple connection galvanized our friendship and filled it with vivid greens and blues. No crisis. No tragedy. Just a craving and a friend eager to heed the call.
Live life together in the everyday and the emergency. It all counts.