The Generosity of Accepting Help

3.27.18 Neighbors (4)
Deer Little Friend

One of the more fabulous aspects of RVing is living in close connection with nature. Alone in the midst of a huge RV park, mother nature makes herself known. Had a wonderful visit from a few of the locals early one morning. There were 6 of them but by the time I grabbed my camera, this little gal was all that was left. The others weren’t far away, but little brave one here just stood and looked straight at me. Like she was trying to say “hey lady, throw me out some corn would ya?” I don’t feed wild life. It goes against everything I believe in, but I was so tempted. The demands of day-to-day life continue however, and there are errands to be run, groceries to be acquired. Farewell little deer friend.

I’ve mentioned before that SH injured his shoulder a couple of weeks ago. It’s healing but the upshot is that it’s difficult for him to drive a standard transmission and so I’ve been doing all of the car driving. Our RV has an automatic so he was able to handle the trip OK but all of the little about town errands, etc. I’ve driven. Now, I love to drive. I have loved to drive ever since I was a kid, in fact, I used to drive in the Friday night street drags at the motor speedway near my childhood home. I particularly enjoy driving standard transmissions and, yes I tend to have a bit of a lead foot. I’m one of the people who really understands the concept of farfegnugen (driving enjoyment). However, (you saw that coming didn’t you?) when you’re a Spoonie, there are going to be times when even things you love to do are out of reach.

Today was such a day, Superhubs and I headed out to do our grocery run, before we even hit the main road, I knew it was going to be tough. I’m still in the autoimmune flare and along with muscle and joint pain, I’ve got brain fog and random light-headedness. I did OK but by the third abrupt correction (over steering or sudden breaking), SH mentioned “I can drive if you like.” I am one of those people and perhaps you are too, it’s nigh impossible for me to ask for help and darn difficult to accept it when it’s offered. I spent much of my pre-spoonie life being militantly independent, I was Wonder Woman and Super Mom combined, so you can probably imagine just how hard it is for me to contemplate being unable to drive, to lose that freedom and independence.

It is difficult to accept that we cannot always do the things we used to, the things we want to, sometimes even the things we need to. Acceptance is part of the chronic illness game though. I have limitations now, I’m grateful that they’re not worse but that tiny concession to the disease feels uncomfortably like a defeat to me. I wanted to cry, I told him I didn’t want him to re-injure his shoulder. Truthfully, I was just looking for a way to not feel useless. My sweet hubby provided it when he said “you know, the only thing I have trouble with is putting the car in reverse, and you can help me with that, right?” Wow, suddenly I’m not a failure, I’m an important part of a team effort. And it was alright. We navigated our way through the rest of our shopping trip and safely home without a hitch.

My father used to tell me “suck it up buttercup, you have asthma, asthma doesn’t have you. There are things you’ll never be able to do as well as other people, but there are oh so many things that you do better than anyone else.” I practically had chronic disease (asthma) in the womb. I had my first critical (hospital trip required) attack when I was just six months old and I’ve never had a remission. Although I have more chronic conditions now, you would think that working within the confines of a chronic illness would be easier for me, having grown up with it. It’s not. In fact sometimes I want to scream at the universe … “OK, enough is enough. Believe me, I don’t want to be any stronger.”

A dear friend once gave me one of those pearls of wisdom that you don’t realize until later just how profound it is. I was once again refusing help from someone when she told me “you know, you don’t have to prove how strong you are every time. Sometimes accepting someone’s help is not an act of weakness but an act of compassion.” I didn’t understand that for a long time, but I do now. Sometimes you need to accept help, not so much for your sake as for the sake of the giver. Think about it, how does it make you feel when you help someone. Pretty good right, you get that little glow that makes you feel needed and kind. Now how do you feel when someone rejects your offer of help? Kind of insulted, or maybe just a little sad, like the only gift you had to give someone was not good enough. Help is a gift that goes both ways. So the next time someone offers “can I help you with that?” Smile and say “yes, thank you” and then let them give you the gift of their assistance, see the smile you’ve just given that person in return by letting them be valuable and meaningful in the universe.

I believe that as humans, we are meant to be kind to each other. But that kindness is a two way street, you have to be willing to receive it as well as give it and sometimes, receiving is the harder part.

Well, enough of the waxing philosophic. Tonight’s recipe is the for those days when you want to make a special little sweet treat for the people in your life, it’s easy and yummy, loved by kids and adults alike. I humbly present for your temptation:

1 can (12 ounces) salted peanuts
1 can (7 ounces) potato sticks (like the kind by Frenchs they’re little freeze dried french fries) OR about 4 cups chow mein noodles if you can’t find (or don’t like) the potato sticks
3 cups butterscotch chips
3 tablespoons peanut butter
Combine peanuts and potato sticks in a bowl; set aside.
In a microwave, heat butterscotch 
chips and peanut butter in 30 second increments
for 1-2 minutes or until melted.
Pour over dry mixture, 
stir to coat evenly.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto 
waxed paper lined cookie sheet, chill until hardened
(about 5 minutes). Store in air-tight container.

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