Mar 12, 2010

A Friend in Need

One of the surprise questions in the Globe and Mail interview was, "So you have to rely on other people a lot?" To be fair, she wasn't attaching judgment to the question, but much of society - our Western society, at least - would consider this a weakness, a failure to stand on my own two feet. Mooch.

The simple fact is, I do and always have relied on others. And I think it's a good thing. I called Joe at 9:30 the other night to help round up the escaped cows, and dumped the kids on Chantell this afternoon for a work meeting. At age 42 my mother still has to co-sign loans because the bank doesn't understand wealth and income the way we do.

I also carried Joe's baby to school and back every day to give them a one-hour sanity break, and sent Chantell back to my nearby house to make lunch for her boy instead of driving way back to her house to retrieve the forgotten backpack. I gave my mother grandchildren.

We give; we take. That's why there's a we, instead of a me. We are connected, and the web grows stronger each time we lean on each other. This is an essential part of being human in the human family.

In spite of the cleverly symmetrical example above, it's not quid pro quo. There are some people who give me far more than I'll be able to return, and others whom I serve and will never turn to. As a young wanderer I was given couches to sleep on, was mentored, was given career breaks, and now I'm in a phase where I can offer that to others on their path, even as I'm still being supported. It's a cosmic, karmic quid pro quo, and no one is counting.

Do I rely on people more now that we're "Radical Homemakers" in the country, on lower income, and have more farm chores. Yes. Gloriously, beautifully yes. We are deeper into a community of people who openly embrace the human need to embrace and hold each other. Who more easily ask for help, and more freely offer it. Not better people, just less afraid.

1 comment:

  1. Eloquently written, Rick! Asking for help comes quickly and easily when we live in community. When our downstairs neighbour calls late at night for last minute childcare help, when I help her sort out her recycling that she just hasn't been able to get to, when she bakes cookies for us - help is often just given without anyone having to ask for it.