This morning, my sweet friend stopped by for a chat. We talked about our amazing daughters and their friends; their school and play activities. They are only 8 years old and they are already very busy girls. They are athletes; they are artists; they are performers; they are good people. As my friend and I talked, I mentioned how my parents had come into town to help with a "few" items around the house. As we discussed the list in the "job-jar", she encouraged me to call on our friends to help with anything because they are very willing to and want to help us. I knew that if I sent out a call for help, someone would come running or they would know someone who knew someone who could come help. All I had to do was reach out.....
"Reaching out" doesn't come natural to me. It doesn't come naturally because JB and I would be the ones running to the rescue of the needy; we were not the needy who needed anything. Before JB left us, if anyone had asked us to cook a meal, we would. We collected items for food pantries and packed Harvest Boxes for the elderly. We packed meals for Africa. We built houses for Habitat for Humanity. We had an adopted sweet girl that we supported through Africa New Life; her name is Queen. If you had asked us to help coordinate the first St. Jude Give.Thanks.Walk. in Dallas, we would. And we did.
Reaching out to ask for help for me and my family is very foreign territory. It doesn't come natural for me to ask for help.
I am the oldest of four kids and was always very protective of my little sisters. I was the one who took care of them as we were growing up. Then, last year, the tables were turned. They took care of me, helping me through the terrible actions of planning a funeral and trying to get up every day to face a new challenge as a widow with three young children. And, after all of that, I still don't know how to "reach out". They just did what they knew they had to do so that I had a purpose.
Yes, I ask myself the question all the time. Do I have a purpose? Do I have a purpose if I have to ask someone to help me with every single thing I think I need help with. Yes, I still have a purpose.....
It's just an off-season time of my life. In the off-seasons, farmers do many different things than what they do during planting and harvest seasons.
"Exactly what farmers do in the off-season depends on what kind of farm they have. But regardless of the type of farm, it’s usually a lot of maintenance. Farmers need to do maintenance on their equipment to get it ready for planting in a few months. Their equipment has been used long hours over just a few weeks, so it needs a little extra TLC to keep it running in good shape. There is a lot of planning for next year. Making sure that they have a plan for which type of crop will go into which field, they have a plan for which hybrids or varieties are going into which field, and that each field is prepped for the winter." (from this)
The farmer might not be very busy doing tasks that are a direct result of harvesting but everything he does in off-season is in preparation of having an amazing in-season. I'm in the off-season and everyone in my village is helping me prepare for the in-season glories. The in-season glories will happen but not if I'm all alone.
Have I learned the benefits and skill of reaching out for help from those around me? No. Not really. It's always going to be a sense of discomfort for me. But will I do it; will I reach out when I need to? Yes, I will. I will reach out and call for help but it may be on a delayed reaction.
I cherish those around us who are helping us out every day; filling our days with true life lessons. Would my JB be proud of the legacy that he left us to make sure that we were taken care of? Yes,I believe he would. Would he think that I am doing all that I can to reach out? No, I don't think he would. He would be saying,
"Toni, sweetie, you are strong. That's why I fell in love with you. But the strong never get there on their own. Ask. Ask them for help. They want to help. Ask them. Please."
I just need to reach out. I just need to extend my arm farther out than what feels natural and comfortable. I ask my God for help every day. Reach, Toni, reach farther.....