Thank you for asking me a favor

August 15, 2011 at 10:06 am 2 comments

Lately it’s just one strange or unexpected thing after another. Yesterday evening I went to an outdoor concert. Hadn’t had any supper, but figured there would be something to eat at the concert. There was: Hot sausage with a roll. I’m more or less vegetarian and was suddenly very hungry, but not in the mood to beg for an empty roll with mustard.

A dear friend lives just two hundred yards away from the concert, so I called her and said: “Hi, I’m here at this concert and thought I would find something to eat, but there’s nothing here for me. Could you possibly make me a cheese sandwich?” Of course!

I left my partner standing there with our drinks (we weren’t allowed to leave the premesis with them) and walked over to my friend’s apartment. As she lovingly prepared — “Is one enough?” “Do you have enough bread? I think I need two!” — the sandwiches (dark bread, butter, thinly sliced cheese, fresh ground pepper and thinly sliced pickles), we had an intense chat and caught up on the latest excitement and developments in each other’s lives. She wrapped the sandwiches and gave me a few fresh tomatoes from her garden as well.

Full of gratitude, I thanked her and was ready to leave. Then she said: “Thank you for asking me! I think it is wonderful that you did. I will remember it when I am in need of something, and it will give me courage to ask!” I admitted that I’d felt a little funny at first, but was sooo hungry!

It may seem strange to write about this here, but it’s part of recovery and this little story contains various important elements: First of all, paying attention to one’s needs — in this case, hunger, but it could also be a need of affection, someone to talk to, a hug, a nap, a walk. The possibilites are vast. Then, once the need is recognized, it’s about taking the appropriate action to fulfill it. It was a Sunday evening and everything was closed. I immediately thought of my friend — as I associate her with that town — and called her. That was a step. It could have been that she had nothing to eat, in which case I would have sought some other solution — or gone hungry for a few hours. But since she has three granddaughters living in the same building who visit her daily, I figured she’s always got something to eat. I was right. Then there’s another element. She cut two slices of bread. I looked at them and thought: “I need more” — but was hesitant to speak up, but on the verge. Luckily, she asked me: “Is one enough?” I dared to say “No, I need two.”

So, up to now it’s very much about food, but it was food for the soul as well. I generally find it easier to give to others rather than ask favors (sound familiar?), and I certainly don’t want to be a burden. What happened during that experience? We had a nice visit. It was okay to be there in my need. The trust and friendship are there, so we both know I wasn’t taking advantage of her. In fact, it was wonderful to have that short visit! And she knows that I am here for her as well.

The best part, though, was when she thanked me for calling her. It’s ironic to think that by paying attention to and acting upon my own needs, I actually did something for someone else!

And yet I have experienced similar joy, for example when a different friend was visiting and feeling kind of down. We went for a walk in the forest, then I invited her to stay for dinner. She sat on a chair in the kitchen as I cooked, and we talked. (I assured her that I didn’t want any help cooking. It was a simple meal and would have been more work to delegate.) She expressed how comforting it was to sit there and observe the bustle of preparation and the sense of being taken care of, and I was happy to have her company.

Ah, the strange and unexpected fun one can have!


Entry filed under: friends. Tags: , , , .

Yesterday’s message September

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. broadsideblog  |  August 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    What a lovely post. It’s very true that it’s often hard to ask for help (I doubt I would have) and that many of us are longing to be helpful and connected. She sounds like a great person and you are lucky to have someone so kind and responsive to call on.

    • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  August 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      Thank you for your note. She is a very special friend indeed. I wrote her a note this morning to thank her again, and she wrote back and repeated how delighted she was by the whole situation. Really, when you think about it, how happy are we to help out? It’s just a bit unfamiliar to be on the asking side. Yet when the balance of give and take is there, it is truly rewarding and fulfiling for all. 🙂


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