Over the summer I was blessed to be able to spend time with my sister-in-law, K. She’s one of my best friends–definitely WAY too good for my brother! Anyway, so one day I go with her to pick out a bed for one of her monkeys. It comes in two boxes, one kind-of-heavy and the other HEAVY.
We get back to her house and we need to carry the boxes up the stairs. We take the first kind-of-heavy box up together, and as she opens it and starts to assemble, I go off to keep myself busy, figuring she’ll give me a holler when she wants to take up the other box.
So I’m off in another room, probably checking my Facebook or doing something equally mindless, when I begin to hear “Bump.” A few seconds pass. “Bump.” Another few seconds. “Bump.” And it goes on a few more times. There are lots of kids in the house, so at first I don’t think anything of it. But when it keeps going, I figure I should check it out.
I follow the “bumps,” and what do I find? K, panting lightly, dragging that HEAVY box up the stairs.
“What are you doing?? Why didn’t you tell me to come carry it with you?!?”
As I grab the box and help her with it the few remaining steps, I say, “You know when people say, ‘stupid woman!’? This is what they mean! You! Right here!”
And we both laughed. I was kicking myself for leaving her while she was assembling. But another part of me just couldn’t understand why in the world she hadn’t just called out to me to come carry it with her? I didn’t get it.
I’m not the type of person who feels she needs to prove anything…to anyone. Even myself. If I know that I can do something, then I KNOW it…I’m confident in that knowledge. So if I’m doing something and someone offers to help, I have no problem accepting their help. I know that I wouldn’t be lost without them, but I appreciate their assistance. And if I CAN’T do something and someone offers to help, then I am very grateful that God sent them to give me a hand.
Fast forward a few weeks to my journey back home. I’m on the last leg of the trip, making my way from the airport to the stairs which will take us up into the airplane that will bring us home. I’m traveling alone with my four monkeys, the two eldest are each carrying their backpacks, and I’ve got a backpack and two handbags. Yes, that’s THREE bags I’m carrying…and they were heavy. But we had made it so far and it was just a few steps left…
At that point a very respectable young man in his early twenties politely offered to help me. He had a light backpack on and both of his hands were empty, as he pointed out. So when he offered to help me, I….refused. I said no. I thanked him for his kindness and said no. By the look on his face I could tell he, too, couldn’t understand why I would decline such a reasonable offer. I mean, he wasn’t a sleazy guy being inappropriate. There wasn’t even the possibility that he could run off with my stuff…we were on the runway! Where would he go?! But I said no, all the same. And even as I was saying it, it felt strange to me. Why? Why had I refused?
I thought about it for a while. A long while. And I’ve come up with two theories:
Theory #1. I had already been carrying the bags, so just then, when that polite young man offered to help, it seemed worthless to accept. I mean, I had just a few steps to go; there was no point in putting someone out at this stage. I’d been doing it all day already, I might as well just keep going.
Theory #2. Stupid woman!
I’m torn…you decide.