Opening the door
I’m in the chemo chair today, and I’m actually being a little anti-social (rare for me in the infusion suite), because I have so much to catch up on. Just now I renewed my website (the hosting and domain registration were set to expire/disappear forever approximately 25 hours from now. I learned what “hosting” and “domain registration” mean a few days ago.) I’m telling you I am barely on the internet at all; three years ago when I set it up (with lots of help from a stranger friend) I’d hoped to learn more, but it hasn’t been my priority. When I sat down with my friend for help with this, my friend looked at my computer’s desktop and began twitching at the disarray. That’s sort of representative of how I feel like I’m dealing with the important-but-not-energizing stuff in life. I’m getting it done, but barely. There’s lots of disarray.
Some of you have said, “What can I do?” It’s a hard question for me to answer.
Last week while I took Greta to gymnastics, a friend/neighbor came over and took down all of my outdoor Christmas decor. She had messaged me a few days prior to tell me it was happening and so I could leave my storage bin(s) in the garage so it was ready for her. When I got home, it was all done; it was even put away in the correct spot in the basement storage room. It was so refreshing to have a job that would have taken Brad and/or I hours finished. Thank you for such a practical and selfless gift.
Because of my past experience with various chemotherapies, and the knowledge I’ve gained about the value of my village, I’m trying to be a better help-ee by creating routines and systems in my house that can be aided by another. If you were to do something for me this week, these are the kind of minutae tasks that are going to be back-burnered for me, but it would feel good for someone to get it done. (Brad is super-willing and able to do these things, but it’s not life-giving for him to do it either. He can do it, but I don’t want him to do it. Does that make sense? He’s very much a “we’ve got this” kinda guy, so he might even be discombobulated that I’m putting this out there (sorry honey)).
- Put away the last of the Christmas stuff into the bins that are collected on the table in the basement. (Tuesday at the earliest).
- Greta’s laundry basket is full. Wash it, dry it, and put the clean clothes away in her closet. (I’ve made a change in how I am doing laundry thanks to the tip of a friend with 6 kids. Instead of sorting all our laundry into darks, lights, etc., each kid has their own dirty laundry basket in their room. When it’s full, it gets washed/dried–all together; kids clothes don’t bleed color–, and folded and put away for little kids, or deposited in their room for big kids.)
- I have a list of <15 items I need from the grocery store. If you’re going and want to drop them on my back porch, message me. I’ll drop you a check to pay you back.
- Maren’s laundry basket will be ready for washing Wednesday-ish.
Yesterday at church, my friend said, “I have little-to-no-time, but I want to help. I am going to Costco before next weekend. What would your family eat from Costco that I can bring to church next Sunday so you can take it home and have a meal?” I thought this was a great example of a specific, strategic offer of help.
- If you want to help but don’t know what to do, ask her best friends what she needs. Her spouse, parents, and siblings are likely as starstruck as she is.
- If you want to help, figure out how you want to help. What’s your gifting? Suggest one to three ideas and see if any of them resonate with the person.
- Be specific with your capacity and what you can do. Instead of “What do you need?” Say:
- “I have two hours free in the afternoon and I’d like to help you. I”ll have my baby with me, but I can do whatever you can think of that would be helpful during that window.”
- “I cook. What will you eat?” Or “I cook these three things really well, do any of them sound good?”
- “I don’t cook, but I buy gift cards well. Where do you want to go?”
- “I have thirty minutes. Can I come over and do whatever needs to be done?” (I would have you sweep my kitchen floor, do my dishes, unload my dishwasher, clean/put away the toys in the basement, or clean/put away my kids’ room.)
I still have bags to unpack from Christmas and beyond, we switched the girls’ beds last night (Greta got the bunkbeds, Maren has the double bed) so the upstairs looks like a bomb went off, and unwritten thank you notes are buried under a pile of stuff on my desk. I’ll get some stuff done tonight by capitalizing on my steroid high, but I don’t know yet how I’ll feel over the coming weeks. Fingers crossed that my healthy cells tolerate this chemo well!
Thanks for the grace and understanding if I haven’t communicated with you. Keep trying and/or thanks for the patience; I’m not intentionally ignoring you!