Jim and Joyce are two of the greatest neighbors of all time. After the snow flies, they are up at the crack of dawn shoveling random driveways in the hood. Several times a year I open my door from an unexpected knock and Joyce will surprise me with a warm peach cobbler. At least once a month I get a call or text asking me for my Costco wish list. There is not enough space in this blog to list their endless supply of selfless kind acts.
I drive by their house often and always stop to chat when they are meandering around the yard. If my passage includes a trip to the store, I offer to pick up an item or two. I am constantly rebuffed but my optimism keeps me in the batters box. My multi-year hitless streak ended last week when Joyce asked me to pick up a watermelon from Trader Joe’s. Endorphins flooded my sense of goodness as I drove three miles to store. I was needed and had a chance to help.
The gods were on my side with a front row parking spot. The mood deflation was sudden when I saw the wooden crate heaping with heavy green-striped melons. For the non-regular readers, my ribs are still cracked from a recent bike tumble. While shopping for light items, I thought about taking one for the team by wrestling a melon from the crate and into my bag. The ribs vetoed that plan.
In the checkout line I felt inferior for requesting help. I pushed down the emotion and said, “I need you to add a melon to my tab and also need a human to carry it to my car.”
The checker rang the bell and the summoned helper arrived with a slightly suspicious look. To alleviate any question, I preemptively pointed to my ribcage and said, “Cracked.”
The guy could not have been nicer and also took charge of my reusable shopping bag. He thanked me for being a customer while placing the goods in the backseat of my car.
During the short drive home, I spent time reflecting on this puzzling emotion. Helping another person always brings me joy. Being on the receiving end of help always makes me feel good and I believe the helper shares in the same feeling. I have no idea why the simple act of asking for help is so hard.
Upon arrival at my house, I queued Help into Spotify. The Fab Four helped.
When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors