Mamma always told me….a change is as good as a rest. She also told me I could pick my nose and pick my friends, but couldn’t pick my friend’s nose. I’d like to focus on the first piece of advice.
Being a single mom is not for the faint of heart. It is a full-time job with scant benefits, long hours, and very low (no existent) pay. Add to that being a full-time teacher and you have all the qualifications for a nervous breakdown. Or a strong addiction to diet caffeinated drinks or wine. I’ve seen it go both ways.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and what I do. I even love who I do it with and for. I wouldn’t change anything, much. I have somehow ended up with some amazing children and beautiful friends. I even have a dog I don’t hate. All in all, it’s a wonderful life.
Most days, I keep it looking pretty good. From what I’ve been told. What goes on behind closed doors is best kept that way. The fact that I had laundry piled in my bedroom on the floor, chair, bed,….etc,…was really no one’s business but my own. And frankly, I was pretty good at pushing it aside and sleeping on the sliver of mattress not covered with socks and jeans. At least I have clothes, right?
A few weeks ago, a sweet lady at church asked if I would, “let” a few women come over and help me with some household things. They were just looking for service and wanted to hit a few houses. Just 45 minutes of help in any way I’d like. To be honest, I feel pretty good that my first thought wasn’t, “why me? Do I LOOK like I need help?!” but, I should let someone serve me. You see, I’ve been on the other side of that equation and sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to help someone else. I said sure.
Fast forward a week. I am thinking of what I could possibly have them do. Everything I could think of was such a big job it started stressing me out. The garage? I don’t even know where stuff goes. My pantry? I’m too picky. The bathrooms? My boys need to do that. I was stumped.
Fast forward to the day. I still hadn’t decided what I needed help with. My house was the normal organized chaos, but….how do you let people help you with that? I let them in and said that I really didn’t know what to have them do. They were all smiles and just told me to point them. So, we all went into my inner sanctum of a bedroom (aka laundry pile room) and started folding laundry.
There really wasn’t THAT much laundry, so they snuck out in small numbers and managed to pick up my downstairs, rearrange some furniture, and generally give it a quick shine. All in 45 minutes.
They didn’t do much. They didn’t make monumental life changes. They didn’t ‘clean house’ me. They smiled, talked, laughed, and just gave some good old Christian service. The kind that comes without strings, without fanfare, and with a lot of love.
What did they do? They gave me a big shot in the arm. Since they were here, I’ve slept better (go figure), smiled more, and had a load of guilt swept off my mind. I’ve also cleaned my backyard, car, and kitchen.
The moral of this story is simple. Sometimes you need to serve. You need to forget yourself and get out there and just help others. And sometimes, you need to let other people serve you. Let them see your dirty, your unorganized, your ‘no makeup’, your piles of laundry and random men’s underwear you can’t identify the owner(s) of. It’s okay. Because when it’s over, not only will they feel like they made a difference, YOU will too.
Because I said so.
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