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“Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.” – Mark Twain

 

My last post spoke about the quandary we were having here on the farm. It amazed me that within a short amount of time two of my friends and ‘neighbors’ offered to help in any way they could. I often talk about helping others, but rarely do I mention that from time to time, we also need and receive help. One friend, who lives at least five states away, offered his concern, and whether he said it or not, I know he was also offering up prayers for us. It is without a doubt had distance not been an issue, he would have offered to come help. Knowing him, he never would have offered, he would have just shown up with his work gloves.

Kindness is always a two-way street. Most times we are eager to jump in and help. But when it comes to ourselves, it is difficult to ask for assistance. It makes us feel like we are burdening someone, or taking time out of their own busy schedule to request their help. There are times when it makes us feel ‘needy’, and unable to take care of ourselves. So we do the heavy lifting by ourselves, and end up taking hours longer than it would have taken if we had just simply made a phone call.

Giving assistance and serving others is a joy. Then why is it we feel awkward when we are in the receiving position? One of the hardest life lessons is to learn to ask for, and accept help. Why is that? By doing so, we unintentionally are robbing someone else of the joy they feel for serving us. Farming, whether on a small urban lot or with hundreds of acres is a lot of hard work, from sun up to sun down. It becomes even more difficult when you have serious problems, like a tractor that breaks down in a field three miles from the house, or when the weather has become such a headache that your garden is overcome with weeds. Or, on the flip side, your garden produces so well, that you spend your mornings trying to harvest it all, and then are in the kitchen well after midnight trying to preserve every last ripe tomato, only to have to rise before the sun comes up the next morning and do it all over again. You know it’s too much to handle on your own, and then you run the risk of burning out in less than a week.

It is times like this we need to ditch our pride and call in reinforcements. Offer to share the bounty with a friend if he or she will spend the day with you canning. Ask a neighbor if he would be willing to come rake hay while you bale. While building a ‘pig parlor’ in our old pen, Ayn just showed up and grabbed a hammer – and the assistance was very much appreciated.

By allowing others to help, you also open your eyes to the beauty of serving others from the ‘other side of the fence’. You have an opportunity to experience the goodness of their hearts first hand. And you end up having the peace of mind knowing that if anything major really did happen, you wouldn’t have to face it alone.

Mark Twain nailed kindness in his quote, and it’s easy to see how it would apply if we were the ones offering to help. But it also applies to those of us who aren’t as willing to ask and accept help from others. When we refuse, we become the ‘blind’ and ‘deaf’. I think it’s time that we set our pride aside and open our eyes and ears, becoming more accepting when we are offered assistance. Don’t you?