The other day while I was at work I received a text message from a friend of mine asking me what my day was like. I asked her what was up and this was her reply:
“The kids and I are sick and have been all weekend. I want some comfort food. I can’t bear the thought of opening another can of Campbell’s. I’m wondering if you’re not busy if you could make us a simple soup. And you know how I HATE to ask.”
We all hate to ask, but the truth is sometimes we find ourselves in need and it just doesn’t seem right to deny others the opportunity to serve while we sit there sick, or needing a ride or a friends or a listening ear. I went home from work that day and cheerfully made some savory chicken vegetable soup, and a batch of these amazing biscuits. I was thrilled that my friend would ask and that her simple request turned what would have been yet another night of menial labor—figuring out what to fix for dinner—into an act of deliberate and loving service. Service which I was not only able to share with my family and hers, but also with another member of our ward who I knew was ill. I was also humbly reminded that perhaps I should perform all menial tasks in my life as labors of love.
All because my friend had asked.
Perhaps part of the reason my friend was not afraid to ask (even as badly as she hated to) is because on a few occasions in the past (even as badly as I hated to) I’ve texted her and asked her if she was free to give one of my kids a ride up to campus (or whatever). Sometimes she was free and gave my kid a ride (she likes my kids, or I wouldn’t have the nerve to ask). Sometimes she’s not and she tells me so (also why I have the nerve to ask–she’s not afraid to tell me “No.” I know not to take it personally when she does).
We’re all aware of so many wonderfully inspiring stories of people who were moved to call, visit or take food to someone who was truly in need at a particular moment. I have complete confidence in the Spirit. But I recognize that I’m kind of thick-headed. I failed Mind-reading 101. Our lives are so full of things to do and places to be. It’s easy to be distracted by the busyness of it all–church, work, home, play, whatever. Some of us need a less subtle hint.
I appreciate the courtesy of someone who is not afraid to tell me what she needs.
What about you? Are you able to ask for what you need? How do you take an “I’m sorry, but no?” Can you accept a “Yes” without guilt when it comes?