This is what a blessing looks like

January 15, 2009 | Daily Spirituality, Motherhood | 25 comments


Just as I was about to start my day this morning, I picked up the phone to hear the warm, humble voice of a dear friend of my family whom I hadn’t seen in months. She doesn’t speak much English and my Spanish is not great, but I was able to make out that she was saying something about bathrooms…cleaning bathrooms…cleaning a kitchen…she was asking if she could come clean my house! Just out of the kindness of her heart. Despite the fact that she does back-breaking work six days a week, she found herself with a little free time and thought that since I’m eight months pregnant and have three little ones I might be able to use some housecleaning help. And she was offering to do some of the detail work I most loathe, like cleaning toilets.

So did I want her to come do it?, she wanted to know.

In the three-second pause that ensued I thought something like, “THERE IS NO WAY I COULD ACCEPT THIS IT’S JUST TOO MUCH WORK AND SHE WORKS SO HARD ANYWAY AND I DIDN’T EVEN SEND HER A BIRTHDAY CARD AND IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S IMPOSSIBLE THAT I COULD DO IT MYSELF AND IT MIGHT BE KIND OF AWKWARD AND IT WOULD THROW OFF MY SCHEDULE FOR TODAY AND WHAT IF SHE THINKS MY HOUSE IS A MESS AND WHAT IF SHE GETS HERE AND SEES THE STATE OF OUR BATHTUB AND REGRETS EVER ASKING AND I JUST CANNOT LET A FRIEND CLEAN MY TOILETS AND…and, honestly? I do kind of need the help.”

My mind flashed to all your comments to this post about accepting help, and I thought of what so many of you said about how we can bless others by accepting their offers of help. And I managed to shut of my neurotic thoughts for a moment and just say, “Yes. I would be so blessed to have your help today.” (Actually, since I was speaking in Spanish I probably said “Yes. I am blessing to help you today.” But she knew what I meant.)

The result?

I got a sparkling clean kitchen and bathrooms, as well as the sheets on our bed washed and changed — all work that I’d been putting off because it’s so tiring for me right now. But, most importantly, I got to spend some time with an old friend, and the opportunity to let her know just what a dear treasure she is to us and how very, very much she blessed my family with her help today.

25 Comments

  1. Rachel Gray

    That’s beautiful!

    I know how it feels to be shy to accept help. Unfortunately I’m also shy to offer it; there are times when I’m willing to give my time but not willing to put myself on the line to offer it. So I admire that friend’s example.

  2. Melanie B

    What a wonderful blessing indeed!

  3. KimP

    How can this miracle happen at my house??? 🙂 I’m so glad you welcomed the help – what a wonderful, wonderful friend.

  4. Jasmine

    I know what you mean about accepting help. The bigger the offer, the harder it is to accept. I’m so glad you got a clean house and time with your friend.

    As a new reader, I didn’t know you were eight months pregnant. I will pray for your new baby’s health.

  5. Shelly W

    Oh wow, that’s a true friend. I’m glad you shared that.

    I’m very blessed to have someone come help me every other week, and every day she comes I thank God for her. She is such a help and, yes, a blessing to me.

  6. Tres Angelas

    This is typical of the Hispanic immigrants who are our friends. Admittedly, it’s not a representative sample, since we know them mostly from Church, but these are good-hearted, hardworking, family-oriented people, who are grateful for the opportunities presented to them.

  7. Dorothy

    God is so good! And His blessings abound! Not the least of which is you’re 8 months pregnant and have three healthy children! And this wonderful friend! God is so good! We, out here in cyberspace, send MORE blessings, not only to you but to your Spanish friend. Vaya con Dios and may He continue to smile on you – as of course He does, always. It’s in His nature.

  8. Sarah Reinhard

    Jen, I’m so proud of you for accepting the help, and so glad that you have a dear friend like that to come over and bless you and your family in that way.

    Prayers and hugs for you,
    Sarah

  9. tootie

    What a wonderful gift! That was really sweet of her to do that.

  10. Elizabeth

    When I was on bedrest and making several trips to the hospital for various problems–one of the nurses finally put her hand on my shoulder, leaned close and said very kindly:

    “Don’t deny others the PLEASURE of helping you.”

    That sentence changed my life. With 5 kids, I can use all the help I can get.

  11. 'Becca

    Wow! How wonderful!

    And just in case you’ve stopped noticing: You are blessed with a lovely sink faucet, too. I wish I had that instead of the travesty of circa-1980, apparently-installed-by-a-drunk hardware that’s in my bathroom!

  12. Jenny R.

    I’m glad to hear this story.

    I’ve also been meaning to write to tell you how important your blog has been for me. I’m a convert, though not from atheism–and your blog has given me much food for thought in explaining my own conversion to family and friends.

    I have two-year-old twins and a 10-month-old (all girls), so your stories of “life with littles” have been heartening. I do read some other Catholic homeschooling blogs and was finding myself wondering HOW those crafts/teas/lessons were possible until I finally realized that in all those families, the OLDEST child is, like, 13–not TWO. So while there are frequently babies and toddlers, there are also Big Ones to help.

    I appreciate your honesty. I appreciate your tackling things that are maybe unfamiliar to converts (my husband is a cradle Catholic who has always had the grace of being close to his faith, so some things I’m unfamiliar with are so old-hat to him that it doesn’t occur to him that they might BE unfamiliar to someone!). I like your explanations of things like “detachment” and “giving things over to God”.

    I’ve sent non-Catholics to your site to read your “Why I’m Catholic” posts and suggested-reading lists. I’ve taken some of your suggestions. I appreciate your AREWP. My husband regularly prays the Liturgy of the Hours and while I sometimes do some hours with him, your posts have encouraged me to work on it on my own–so that if it isn’t possible for us to read Lauds together, we at least both read it and tap into the Awesomeness that is The Official Prayer Of The Church.

    As I go in and out of reading blogs and limiting my online time, I always keep yours in my list, and I look at it first thing. Thank you for the service you’re providing for me, in particular, but for so many others.

    And I, too, pray for your baby… I’m hoping to get pregnant soon myself. St. Gerard, ora pro nobis!

  13. Little eye

    You don’t like cleaning toilets. You’re crazy eights! 😉

  14. Jennifer

    How awesome is that! She blessed your house!

  15. Kris

    Coming out of lurkdome to say that you blessed my day just by sharing that. Blessing can extend so much further than we can even imagine some time.

  16. Courageous Grace

    Wow, what a blessing!

    I didn’t realize you were so far along in your pregnancy. I’m praying for you!

  17. SuburbanCorrespondent

    Good for you! You made her feel great, you know. And you helped your family. I offered to wipe down the bathrooms at my friend’s house recently (she had just had a C-section) and her husband said no. They needed the help, too. For some reason, it made me feel lousy.

  18. Susan Thompson

    This is a little off topic, but Jenny R’s post reminded me that there is a wonderful publication called “Magnificat” geared toward people who want to pray the Liturgy of the Hours but don’t have a lot of time. It contains the Mass text readings for each day, stories about the saints, and prayers drawn from the Liturgy of the Hours. I used to have a subscription but quit because it got to be a little too much, but I’m thinking about starting it up again.

    You can request a sample copy. Here’s the web site:

    Magnificat

  19. reprehriestless warillever

    Wow!

    How sweet.

    I am proud of you, too.

  20. Modern Catholic Mom

    You are lucky to have such a thoughtful friend, that is true Christian charitty!

  21. Beverlydru

    I am inspired and challenged to be His hands and feet more often. Great post.

  22. pam

    With my first infant, I was distraught and overwhelmed by everything, and a very good friend insisted on coming over and cleaning my house. It was SO hard to accept and sit still why she worked, but it is a heartfelt gift I will never, ever forget. Thanks for reminding me.

  23. Domestic Accident

    Good for both of you,

  24. lana

    I have often encountered women who say they find it hard to accept help. I WISH someone would offer. When I am not completely overwhelmed with little ones and pregnant I cannot WAIT to help others. In the meantime, it is hard to hear others (even relatives!) say they have no time or that “people with many children feel entitled.” We don’t. We are just busy, busy, busy, and it can be hard at times. Wonderful, but busy.
    Maybe I am complaining? I don’t know. I just don’t understand this. It is so humbling to ask and be refused. If only someone would offer…

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