Ah, November. The month of giving thanks. Personal journals and social media pages overflowed with lists of things people were thankful for. Days grew shorter. We huddled close to loved ones. We searched for light and meaning.
At the heart of it all, we found gratitude. The recognition that even on the coldest and darkest of days, there are things to be thankful for.
But are you thankful when Aunt Judy gives you three gravy recipes after you invite her to dinner? Or when your spouse organizes the pantry, leaving you unable to make a simple peanut butter sandwich without asking for help?
Why aren’t we grateful when the gift being offered is help?
We want it our way
Our house has a huge kitchen. When we designed it, we carefully located counters and appliances so that more than one person could comfortably cook and work there .
And yet, the team-sized kitchen has become a place for my husband and I to compete over whose method of peeling potatoes or boiling eggs is the best.
People volunteer to show they care. To show they value the work you are doing. While there is no quick answer to kitchen wars in our house, the key is remembering we have the same goal–regardless of whose method wins.
We don’t want to seem helpless
When my granddaughter Smarty Pants learned to read I learned this immediately. “No, thank you,” she told me when I wanted read to her one night. “I can do it,”
While my head accepted the value of doing things herself; my heart ached at no longer being wanted or needed.
Gratitude is appreciating something. Feeling appreciated is something greater.
We want to be alone
It had been a cold and rainy week. Days of being trapped indoors. When the sun came out that morning, my husband saw the perfect opportunity for some time alone.
As soon as Smarty Pants saw him outside washing his motorcycle, she headed for the door. “Papa needs my help,” she said as she raced past me.
Though I knew better, I knew her enthusiasm would determine the outcome.
In a life filled with so many gifts, it is easy to forget the needs of the giver. It is good to be needed. To be appreciated.
Being a helper builds more than teamwork; it builds esteem.
At the end of the day, there was sparkle and shine. When they finished, Smarty Pants followed Mike into the garage- still talking about how lucky he was to have her help.
“He sure is,” I said as I held the door open for them. And before I could say another word, she took one perfect swipe down the driver’s side of my car with her soapy sponge.
Maybe the best way to show gratitude is saying thank you to help we never knew we needed. What do you think? I’d love to hear your stories of uninvited Help .