Yesterday, I did a new brave thing. Basically this whole journey has felt like doing one brave thing after another, because something inside of me has pushed me to embrace bravery rather than fear.
Yesterday, I worked up enough courage to ask for help in a moment of great hurt. Up until yesterday, I have accepted help when it has been offered to me, and that has been hard enough, but I have never dreamed of actually asking for it. Many people have offered to be there for me when I need it, and I have received an outpouring of love and support, but I have never brought myself to let someone know that I needed them.
A few things have stopped me in the past: 1) Fear. 2) Embarrassment. 3) Pride. 4) Not wanting to be a burden. 5) Not wanting anyone to see me at my lowest.
I'm not sure if those are in the right order of rank, because they all seem equally important in a moment of need, but yesterday, I felt the fear that my friend would think terribly of me for asking for help, that she would feel burdened by me asking for her time, and that she would never think of me the same after seeing me with puffy, tear-stained eyes. But I knew I needed help. I was feeling incredibly awful emotionally, and my daughter was napping, so I also felt extremely lonely. Usually I just try to sleep the loneliness and pain away, but this time, I couldn't sleep.
At first, I curled up in a ball on my bed and sobbed, trying to convince myself of every reason why I shouldn't ask for help. My mind turned to all the miracles I have experienced in these last few months, the times when people have known to help in an exact moment of need. I thought maybe I could sit there and wait, and God would tell someone I needed help. But something inside of me told me that it was my turn. I needed to ask. I couldn't expect God to give me the help I needed if I didn't put forth some of my own effort.
So I grabbed my phone and starting scrolling through the list of names in my contacts. There was name after name of people who have offered help, but I was too afraid. They must be busy. I told myself. They have better things to do. They have enough to worry about.
I got almost to the end and found one name that I felt I could actually go through with asking. I was so so scared and took a very long time trying to make the text sound exactly right, including saying several times that they didn't need to make time for me if they were too busy. When I had the text all written, and had read over it a million times, I took a deep breath and pushed send.
I curled up even tighter as my mind raced frantically. Why did you do that? She doesn't want to come help you. You shouldn't need to ask for help. She is going to feel burdened by you. You should have asked someone else, not her. What kind of friend asks for help instead of giving it?
The weight of my fear and sadness was crushing me. After a few minutes, my friend texted back and said that she'd be there in a few minutes. I sighed in relief and waited.
When she got to my house, I opened the door, and we hugged. I apologized for asking her to come over, and her reply changed my perspective. "No, thank you for asking. It makes me feel good that you trust me."
I thought about how I feel when someone asks me for help, especially help in a time of emotional heartache. It doesn't feel like a burden. I feel privileged to be able to help them. And it most definitely helps me in return to know that my friend considered me someone to call on in a time of need. It's the same for others when I am the one in need.
Although I wish that I could get through this by myself, that I didn't need to ask for help, and that I didn't need the help I ask for, I am thankful to be learning this lesson and to be creating friendships that reach beyond the comfortable boundaries. I am so blessed to have the kind of friends who will drop what they are doing and run to my aid, when I need comfort and companionship.
And I am learning that choosing to be brave is choosing to have JOY. The greatest moments of bravery (what I consider brave) through my journey are some of my greatest moments of JOY!