The Art of Asking; means more than you think.

All in the Family

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We’ve often heard it said, “Ask and it is given.”  But is it in the asking or the allowing?  I think often times it’s both.

There is a friend of mine who has been dealing with some of life’s major challenges.  She has a loved one who had some major (I mean MAJOR) surgery recently.  Now they made it through fine, however the stress my dear friend was under was quite strenuous to say the least.  I couldn’t help but wonder where her family was in all of this?  I mean, she was there to care for her family member, but who was going to be there to care for her?  One was traveling and the rest lived out of town.

Hmm… strange; how very strange indeed that such a life altering operation could be met with such a cavalier attitude?  There is more to this picture as this particular loved one will be undergoing even more ‘life altering’ treatments that will be quite tremendous.  It was clear that she didn’t know how she was going to handle it as this was clearly the ‘beginning’ of yet another bumpy and long road and she was understandably very worried.  I held her hand, hugged her and consoled her as best I could.  But, still, I was taken a back by the fact that her family wasn’t here to take on some of this responsibility to help ease this weight she was carrying.  They should have cancelled their trip and made other arrangements; or at the very least made arrangements to take up some of the slack for the post operation duties.  To be there and come together and care for and support their loved one and also to give her the support she needed (she… the care giver) with the day to day stresses that these situations can bring.

I’ve spoken to other’s who have gone through situations such as this and have been told that this is often the case. There seem to always be that one person who is the one to shoulder the challenges of the family; the one that is the strength that carries the burden for the rest.  But even so, eventually that person, that pillar of strength, when not tended to or supported; that soul will eventually crumble.  We all need support in our lives, hopefully from our families, but also from friends, neighbors; and the best way to start is to ask the question, “how can I help?”

There is also the ‘flip-side’ to that (I usually have to tackle with this one), where we must also ASK FOR that help.  That’s a tough one, isn’t it?  I’d like to say it’s tougher for men than it is for women; but I’m less inclined to think so now that I’m older.  For some reason, most of us get into this mindset that we ‘should’ be able to do it all; all by ourselves.  We think that to ‘ask’ is to impose; when actually it is the total opposite.  To ‘ask’ is allowing others in and to not ask, is closing everyone off; as if to say, “I don’t need you”; “I don’t want you.”  Wow, that says something doesn’t it?

In my friend’s case, I think that these particular siblings have been used to not being asked or ‘expected’ to step in or “step up”, as they say.  They, like me, came from a home where their mother did it all, never needing anyone’s help, never showing emotion and never needing, or asking for anything really.  So, in turn, they became used to that feeling of being closed out, so to speak.  They’ve never been asked or ‘expected’ so, why would they change now?  Not placing blame, mind you; I’m merely making an observation.

I know that I’ve learned a great deal observing these past few weeks.  I too have an issue with that art of asking (as many of you know… and I’m working on it…), and know that this will take me some time.  I have my own troubles in addition to my separation; there is this issue with the stress of my job.  But those stresses have more to do with me I think and how I deal with them.

Life really doesn’t have to be as difficult as we make it out; I’m learning that each day.  We want happiness?  We merely need to reach out and grab it with both hands and (most importantly) be grateful for it.  And when in need, ASK and it will be given… that’s what I’m finding anyway.

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