A Season of Taking
My husband had hernia surgery three weeks ago. It was the week before we were slated to move into the first home we’ve ever owned. He was also renovating the kitchen at the time. Oh, and we have a one-year-old and I’m pregnant with our second. It was madness. I couldn’t see up from down and decided that I could take our son to the hospital with me while my husband recovered from his surgery. Our extended family is far away so finding a babysitter is never fun for me.
Well, it was about 45 minutes into his pre-op that I realized that I really needed to be there for him and that my toddler wouldn’t be able to handle three hours or more in a hospital, not to mention that my husband would be trying to rest and recover. So I frantically called up my good friend who mind you, already has three little boys of her own.
Like always when I’m in a pinch she says, “Sure! Of course I can take him!” Even though I know that it’s not easy to add another one to the load. I’m overwhelmed by gratitude and I mentally add another check to the long long list of people that I feel I owe favors to.
It’s been what I’m calling, “A Season of Taking” for me and my family for about a year now, really since our son was born.
It means that through life’s many trials and challenges, we have received gift upon gift from our friends—meals, babysitting, moving help (the best gift!) items from the grocery store, even financial assistance.
It also means that, in this season, my husband and I could never return the favors, especially me, who’s strapped to a one-year-old most of the time. I can’t jump up and help friends move, I have a hard time preparing others meals while still making dinner for my family (pregnancy fatigue) and financially, well, we just bought a house, eek.
It’s been hard for me. I feel a strong sense of reciprocity most of the time. I receive something so I owe something.
I’m beginning to realize that’s not the way God designed a community of people. It’s not always give and take. Sometimes it’s take, take, take and give later when life allows it. And even though that’s hard for me to accept, it’s real life and it’s beautiful.
God commanded the church to take care of the orphans and widows in the body. I truly believe that we all have seasons of feeling like the orphans and widows, we can’t take care of ourselves. We have to rely on others. It’s humbling, and that’s why it’s designed that way.
The more I humbly accept gifts from friends, recognizing my need for them, the more I can accept God’s gift of grace in my life and the need for it.
I’m also finally starting to believe that my friends really love me. Another hard concept for me to grasp. They’re obviously not my friends for what I can give them, and that’s a sweet thing to be able to say. They are also showing the love of Christ to me and I am closer to God because of it.
Photo by Bethany Shaw