As I reflect this holiday season, I realize one of the greatest gifts I ever received was the gift of dependence. Yes, that’s right–dependence. Let me explain.
I’m a very independent person. Very. I’ve always prided myself on being able to handle anything and be there when others needed help. That’s why it was disconcerting when I faced serious, major surgery a number of years ago. I was off work recovering for 6 weeks, facing an uncertain prognosis. When I vigorously protested yet another dropoff of food and gifts and books, my friend asked what I would want to do if it it were one of them. When I sheepishly answered I’d want to help, she asked me why: “Because I care.” That’s when she hit me right where I was most vulnerable, telling me that letting my friends show me they care was my gift to them. My friend was wise, knowing she could never appeal to me for my own sake. I’ve never forgotten her powerful lesson.
Luckily I haven’t needed to accept help like that since then, though I’m sure my time will come again…it always does. I have, however, had opportunities to share my friend’s wisdom with other like-minded, independent friends. Her lesson has impacted me in small, everyday ways. I’m more willing to open up to others, sharing the daily frustrations, accepting sympathy and advice. My friendships are deeper. I no longer feel so alone. I’m convinced we’re meant to be there for each other, to make life more bearable. Independence is overrated.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” –Anne Frank