I stood in the kitchen, applying pressure to my finger while holding my hand above my head. Somehow, preparing my lunch for the next day, a task I do almost every night, had gone awry. I don’t even know what happened really, only that I started out chopping a cucumber, and somehow my finger got in the way.
My eyes stung with tears, but more from frustration than pain. I was irritated that I cut my finger. Irritated that my attempts to move quickly had left me with in an injury that would certainly have the opposite effect for several days. Irritated that I had allowed my ever present and always growing To Do list – a list that could only be completed by me (or so I told myself) – to distract me from the task at hand.
Asking for help
Still holding my finger, I glanced into the den where my husband and two sons were watching TV together. And just like that I felt my irritation grow and redirect towards my unsuspecting husband. Once again our evening routine consisted of my family relaxing while I rushed around the house, single-handedly accomplishing all the tasks that must be done for our home and schedules to run smoothly. Humbly realizing I needed to ask for help, both with my finger and the evening chores, I forced myself to swallow my pride and anger and call my husband’s name.
Early the next morning my throbbing finger woke me from sleep. I climbed out of bed, already thinking of the list of things I needed to do that day, and walked to the kitchen. As I fumbled to make coffee with my bandaged finger it became apparent several things would need to come off that list. Sighing in resignation, I opened the refrigerator and spotted my lunch for the day – the very salad that had led to all these problems. And the same salad that my husband had happily finished preparing (under my direction, of course) after helping me bandage my finger. Although the previous night my main concern had been making sure everything was still done the way I wanted, looking at the salad and reflecting on the evening’s events now allowed me to better appreciate my husband‘s help, both with my finger and the evening chores.
The “take charge” can be harmful
I am a perfectionist and controlling person by nature, but recently I’ve considered that these traits may actually be the reason so much work falls on my shoulders. Or maybe it doesn’t fall there at all. Maybe I am the one placing it there. My “take charge” attitude often leads others, including my husband, to feel their help is not needed. Even worse, my perfectionist qualities may make others believe their efforts are not good enough.
For years these personality traits have defined me, and I believed they were beneficial, allowing me to accomplish so much the world says is important. These days, however, I am aware that God is trying to teach me a better way. He has called me to these vocations of marriage and motherhood in hopes that through my words and actions I will be life-giving. But my insistence that things be done my way, yet simultaneous frustration when others do not contribute, has been anything but.
Sometimes letting help in is needed
Reflecting more on the previous evening, I realized that each task that needed to be completed, was done. No, they weren’t all done exactly as I would do them, but that was okay. Or maybe, it was better than okay.
Perhaps this kitchen knife debacle, an incident requiring that I step back and allow others to not only help, but also to take care of me, was just what all of us needed.