I recently received word that a friend was in the hospital. Without knowing the circumstances or giving it another thought, I reached out her and asked whether and how I could help.
"I'll be released shortly," she said. "Can you come pick me up?" While my offer was sincere, I hadn't considered that there would be an immediate need, and leaping immediately into action was complicated: I was finishing up a project, my daughter was soon to wake from her nap, and my husband wouldn't be home to watch her until hours later.
But as I evaluated the mental list of reasons to say no, I couldn't escape one nagging thought: Was your offer sincere or not...?
Without further delay, I made arrangements for the babe and headed to the hospital. While en route, I considered the situation. My friend is an incredibly strong, self-sufficient woman. And it takes courage for anyone in our I-can-do-it-myself-thank-you-very-much culture to ask for help. I was glad to be a safe place for her to acknowledge a need and even more pleased to have been in a position to respond.
I am as guilty as the next person of insisting I am "Fine, just fine" no matter how I am feeling or what I might need. But when we reject offers of assistance, we are not only complicating our own lives unnecessarily, we are also denying those who love us an opportunity to feel valued and valuable.
When is the last time you told a friend what you needed (or wanted) rather than brushing off an offer of assistance? Next time she asks, can you answer honestly? Can you help a friend by letting them help you?