My friend could barely look me in the eyes. She had opened the door just a fraction. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Of course I do!”
She pulled open the door and let me in. It’d been a long time since anyone had crossed the threshold of her home. After suffering from a long-term illness, her home was in disrepair. Layers of dust and dirt clothed her living space. “I’m so embarrassed,” she said as I carried in my supplies and surveyed the room.
I turned to see the tears welling up in her eyes. “It’s okay.” I wrapped my arms around her. “It’s really okay! Thank you so much for letting me in. Thank you for trusting me with the mess. I’m so happy to help you!”
And I was. I’d been in my own messes. So many of them. Emotional, physical, spiritual. I don’t know why it always took forever to let someone in – I always waited until the dust or the emotions or the heartache grew inches deep before I took the step of asking for help. But I can clearly remember each instance when I took the risk.
When I told a friend all my stupid decisions, ones I’d never brought into the light. When I finally looked up at her, certain she would look away in disgust. Instead she pulled me in and said how proud she was of me. She held me and something broken in me was healed and restored.
I remember when a group from church came and helped me move. I was a single mom and life had been a whirlwind. I was embarrassed at the things they removed from behind my couch and from underneath my bed. Enormous hair critters and lost apple slices and a few small children. And yet they served me with such joy and love.
I remember saying with tears in my eyes, “Thank you. Thank you for loving me.”
And one friend said. “No, thank you. Thank you for letting us in. You gave us a gift – you let us into the mess, you trusted us. And we love you all the more for it.”
Letting someone into our messes is a sacred trust, a precious gift – a statement of trust and an expression of love.
Be real. Be messy. Be you.
And let someone in.
It took me a while to convince a 92-year-old couple across the street to allow me to help them. They were so embarrassed and kept apologizing. My response was that it was a blessing to me to be able to help them – to allow someone to come in to fix things they couldn’t handle, to replace light bulbs when it was so dark, to take him to the store when they needed things. Now I just call when I’m going out to see if they need anything, or just take him along to get out of the house. It really is a blessing to be able to assist others in little or big ways when you know you are able to help and then remember that when you need to ask for help. Thanks for putting this in words for all to see. You are a blessing to so many.
Thanks so much Alona – love your story of serving – what a gift!
I. LOVE. This.