Friday, February 24, 2012

Lessons From The Edge

We don't need to apologize for our inabilities.

C is one of the regulars at exercise class. And she always needs help with her weights.
We use weights that can be strapped around your wrists or ankles with velcro straps. C always needs help getting them on (So do other folks. They are kinda tricky to put on one-handed!) and sometimes she can't figure out how to un-do the velcro to take them off. She usually gets mixed up about whether we're putting them on wrists or ankles, too. And she always apologizes for needing help.
My response is always to tell her, "It's OK. I am happy to help you." Then I remind her that I love her. And I mean every word.

D struggles with arthritis pain and has lots of trouble getting around. He needs assistance standing up, and moving from his motorized cart to his chair. And nearly every time I'm helping him move from here to there, D complains about his aging body and his inability to move like he used to move. In addition to telling me I'm strong (Those work-outs are paying off! *wink*), D also has a habit of apologizing for his current physical condition. I always tell him, "It's OK. I am happy to help you." And I am.

Probably half the residents at Edgewood wear hearing aids, and even then some of them can hardly hear what's being said. It is not uncommon for me to be talking (loudly!) to someone and still have them ask me to repeat what I just said. They all tend to apologize. "I'm sorry. I don't hear things very well." So I get right up to their ear and say it again. Not minding at all that they need a repeat.

It truly does not bother me that so many of these folks need extra help with things. Rather, it makes me sad when I consider their propensity to apologize for their inabilities. But this week, God took my attitude toward the residents and helped me understand something about myself. About all of us.

Have you ever considered how often you apologize for not being good at something? For being unable to perform a certain task? Not because you're refusing to do it, but because you just don't know how. Or maybe you simply weren't created to do that particular thing.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a burden (to God, or another person) because you had to ask for help?
And what about thinking of yourself as less-than because you couldn't do a certain thing by yourself? Ever been there?
I can answer a resounding YES to all three of those questions.

But this week, as I considered C and D and many other precious souls at Edgewood - to whom I LOVE to give help - I was reminded that it's OK to need help. And I was convinced, we don't need to apologize for our inabilities.



The Laundress said...

1. I want to work where you work.

2. I have been apologizing to myself for years now. I need to stop.

3. Thank you for this post.

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Ouch!! As a Type A perfectionist, an inability seemed like an inadequancy to me for many years. Trying to learn the difference.

Irritable Mother said...

Laundress - 1. I think there's an opening in the dining room.
2. Yes. You do.
3. You're welcome.
4. Thanks for stopping by. :o)

Leah - And there IS a difference! I'm right there with you.

angela said...

When my mom was struggling with cancer and in the hospital I would help her with whatever she needed and she would ALWAYS apologize. I too thought it was sad that she felt like such a burden when it was really a blessing to be able to do something for her. When I asked my parents to live with us the said "we don't want to be a burden"... It's sad that we live in a world that values ONLY the strong. It is an honor ot serve those that have served us before... Good post... Thank you.

Irritable Mother said...

Angela - Yes! It IS an honor to serve those that have served us. And those who have served others. But that societal attitude about valuing the strong works against us. So we continue serving, doing our best to assure the helped that we're glad to do it.

gianna said...

I am ALWAYS apologizing for my inabilities. I tell others it's okay, but I never think it's okay for me!

Irritable Mother said...

Gianna - I can relate. I find it a lot easier to give grace to other people than to give it to myself. *sigh*