Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Joys of Cancer

#4 Accepting Help

I'm sort of a volunteer junkie.
For the last 6 or 7 years, I've been a public library volunteer, selecting and delivering books, tapes, and movies for homebound people. I was often at the library once or twice a week, so this was a minimal effort on my part. I love the library, and I loved being able to share it with people who couldn't travel. Doing good to feel good is very addictive. And...maybe just a little selfish. I was often surprised, and a bit embarrassed, at the depth of my patron's gratitude; it seemed out of proportion to the very small favor I was providing.

It's been eye-opening to be on the receiving end.

People want to help.
People want to help. They want to help so much, sometimes they don't even wait to be asked. And occasionally, the help offered is not exactly what I need, or when I need it. Doesn't matter - it's my responsibility to accept as graciously as possible, especially in those situations.

Ever since my diagnosis, I have been overwhelmed with generosity, with acts of kindness. It just about turns me into a blubbering idjut when I think about it. I never would have imagined that accepting help is more difficult than asking for it...and more rewarding.

J. D. Salinger -- a notorious recluse and clearly a fellow crank -- said, "I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy." I know just what he meant. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy, too, and comfortable, and content, and ultimately healthy.

They are trying to sabotage my crankiness. And my job is to let them.

More Joys of Cancer
#3 Asking for Help
#2 New Priorities
#1 We Share


Muser Grace said...

What a beautiful post! And I love the J.D. Salinger quote. Thanks for sharing your story.

Kristin said...

Wonderful post. I found your blog through "Gotcha Baby". For me, even harder than accepting help is asking for it.