Monday, May 19, 2008

What if it was OK to ask for help?

This weekend, my husband and I took part in an annual Albert County rite of spring…fiddlehead picking. We don't it very often as there is a small window of opportunity for picking fiddleheads and most years we miss it. This weekend, though, the time was perfect for those oh-so-tender swirls of fern that grow so abundantly beside our forest streams.

We arrived at a favourite picking site (most people keep the best sites as closely guarded as the family skeletons), but alas, someone had been there ahead of us. Delicate lime green fronds waved merrily in the breeze, but the perfectly tight uncurled ones at the base of each clump were already snipped. We spotted more ferns, which might indicate a good picking site, but they were on the other side of the brook, which was running fast and shin deep.

I could certainly have waded the brook myself; I could even have removed my boots and crossed barefoot, but my husband cheerfully loaded me on his back and piggy-backed me across the stream. While the rushing water seeped over the tops of his boots, mine remained dry.

You know, so often, we think we have to tackle things all on our own, but often an experience is richer when we accept help from others. I must admit to a little independent streak - as if I need to show I can do things on my own – but in the end, what does it really prove? Does it really make a difference if I say, “I did that entirely by myself” or “I did that with a lot of help from my friends.”

In every life, there is a season for independence, but there is also a time for dependence. Wisdom comes from recognizing this, accepting it and finding a balance of each.

When we tackle challenges or changes in our lives, these are often as a result of decisions we make in our hearts, personal choices that require inner strength and commitment. But that doesn’t mean we have to follow through on them entirely alone. It doesn’t mean we have to struggle and soldier on, unaided. I’ve discovered that when I can openly admit I need help or encouragement, it serves to deepen relationships and strengthen connections. Everyone wants to feel needed, right?

Besides, doing things with others certainly makes for a more interesting story…and a lot more fun.

As for us, we had a grand afternoon in the sunshine, stepping carefully around the little mounds so we wouldn’t damage the crowns, filling our grocery bags, but ensuring we left plenty for future harvests.

Yes, I could have waded the brook, but my fondest memory of our lovely afternoon picking fiddleheads will be the laughter we shared as my husband of 20 wonderful years piggy-backed me through the water.


LJB said...

Thank you for your 'what if' questions and your musings. This one about allowing help touched me deeply.

Deborah Carr said...

I'm glad this resonated with you. Five years ago I trained for a Joints in Motion marathon. As it was a fundraiser, I had to raise thousands of dollars for the Society. I had search for and find the humility to ask for help from friends - sometimes it was for money, sometimes for time. One of the most overwhelming parts of the experience was the emotion I felt when they positively responded.