Last night my school had their annual ice cream social. On the Thursday before school starts, students and their families are invited to come and meet their new teachers. This year about 55% of the families from my class showed up. That's a better turnout than what I've had over the past four years or so.
Prior to the ice cream social, I had decided that an hour and a half was too long for me to be standing at a table. My muscles and joints are still recovering from chemo. I've been putting in about 12 hours a day getting ready for the upcoming school year. Since much of our preparation time is taken up by meetings and workshops, we have no choice but to put in a lot of unpaid hours before the beginning of the school year. So, I made the decision to sit at the table this year instead.
When it was time for the ice cream social, I pulled a wood and metal chair out of my classroom and headed toward the steps. I suddenly felt the chair being eased out of my hand. A co-worker had pulled it away from me.
"You've been trying to do to much and besides you have things in your other hand. I've got two good empty hands. I'll take it down for you."
I tried to protest but she proceeded down the stairs and out onto the playground. I had no choice but to follow her. She placed my chair at the second grade table. I told her thank you.
"You didn't have to do that." I said.
"I know," she replied. "I wanted to do it for you."
After the ice cream social was over, I picked up my things, grabbed the chair and headed in to the building. A parent from the PTO stopped me.
"I'll carry that upstairs for you."
I started to protest. "You don't have to do that."
"I know I don't," she replied. "I want to do it for you. Please, I really do want to do this for you."
Later, I thought about these acts of kindness which were extended toward me. I didn't have to ask for help. I probably could have done it on my own. However, I was really tired. I am still rebuilding my muscles after having to spend the greater part of four months in bed more than I have ever been in my entire life. Lifting and carrying large, heavy or awkward things is still a challenge for me. I could have done it if I had to but I was grateful I didn't have to.
How often do I step alongside someone when I see a need? I'm not talking about just rushing in and doing things without asking. I'm talking about extending my hand out to them and letting them know I'm doing it because I want to rather than because I feel like I need to do it.
It's easy to think about helping people with the big needs. We need to continue to do that! However, people have what might be considered little needs as well. Far too often we ignore those little needs and only concentrate on the big needs.
As a Follower of Christ, I'm realizing that God is concerned with my little needs as well as my big needs. He helps me with all of them. He doesn't help me because he has to do so. He helps me because he wants to do it. As a Follower of Christ, I need to follow his example and do the same towards the people in my world.
Sometimes the most humbling thing is to allow someone to help us. And sometimes, helping someone else is really, truly, an exercise of the gift God gave us.
I am so thankful that God surrounded you with people wanting to help you, and I can only imagine that you are well-loved in your school, as evidenced by the offers to help you.