“It takes a village” – hands up if you’ve heard that before? If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times. It’s a sentiment that is tossed around liberally and the importance of it hit really close to home for me recently.
The demands of single parenting were more than I had the capacity to juggle and the need to have community around me was evident. I was panicking at the thought of trying to juggle my work schedule and the also trying to help my young adult child complete a list of things he needed to do to begin working at a new job.
It came about that the easiest way to complete what he needed for work would for him to go and get his G1 (driver’s license) which would mean that I would need to take the afternoon off of work, and we also needed to figure out what he needed to take with him for ID to write his G1 test.
I was at home, I had worked 12 hours that day, I needed to make dinner, I had an accumulation of messages I needed to answer, my children were asking me rapid fire questions because I had been out of the house all day and I was wading through government websites to find ID requirements for the Drive Test Centre.
If you can feel the building up of pressure in that last run on sentence you are having a little glimpse into the pressure I was feeling in the moment. I texted a friend who I knew would know what he needed, and then I called her.
Her words to me instantly filled me with relief and tears… “I’m owed a favour at work so I can request that my matter be dealt with first on the docket and then I will come and pick him up and take him to write his test.” I replied “Are you sure? You would be making my life so much less complicated! I don’t want to inconvenience you though!” She replied “I can hear in your voice that you are at the end of your rope and I have the flexibility tomorrow so let me help.”
Guess what? I let her help! She wanted to because she cares about me and she cares about my kids. I needed the help and was so very grateful.
It was in this moment that I was soundly reminded how very fortunate I am to have such an amazing community of people around me. People who genuinely love us and want to be there for us. People who want to help even though asking for help is not a strength of mine.
I was reminded that it’s ok to ask for help and that it takes a true openness of spirit to not only offer but also receive help. I’ve often told others that I believe there is as much strength in asking for and receiving help as there is in offering and providing help to others but I needed that reminder myself.
The true give and take of community is one of the most human things that we can experience and one of the largest gifts that we can receive. Brene Brown’s book Rising Strong really dives into the strength of receiving help and it happens to be the book I’m listening to at the moment so it’s really helped to cement this concept for me.
So, I would like to issue a challenge for you over the next couple of weeks; take a moment to take stock of your community, think about who you offer help to and who you would be willing to accept help from. There’s no test for this challenge but it might just be the gift you need to give yourself.
Also, maybe take a listen to or read Rising Strong.
P.S. There’s a new driver on the road, it was a very successful trip to the Drive Test Centre that day!