In a society that rewards the narcissist first (I'm looking at you, Tucker Max), it's rare for anyone to put much thought into what gets them through the day, let alone their life.
And you know you haven't been keeping up with your gratitude journal when it takes you longer than 30 seconds to answer the question, "When is a time you have received help?" Because we all get help. Every day. And sadly, I really did have to think about it.
Today, I got help from very nice co-workers who are being very patient with the "new girl" in the office. I hate being the "new girl." It's just plain uncomfortable. No one likes looking stupid when they ask questions with really obvious answers, and these guys have embraced my newbie status on the job with grace and understanding.
Yesterday, it was one of my kids emptying the dishwasher. The day before that, it was my husband, who adjusted his schedule so I could take the aforementioned new job. The day before that, it was the kid who helped bag my groceries. Some things small, some things big—all important and impactful in my life. And I know I could be more grateful for the help I get, more often.
My new job involves the metals and fabricating industries. And in the last couple of days, it's been absolutely eye-opening exactly how much metal is involved in your day-to-day life. Steel beams? They were manufactured somewhere. The machines that make the steel beams? Manufactured somewhere. The machines that make the steel? Yep. It's the same thing with help—think of everything you do from the time you get up until you go to bed. I'm sure there's someone to which you owe a thank you. I know I do.
My son's high school marching band just wrapped up their competitive marching season. For anyone with a kid in a band, you know what this means, but for those of you who don't, it's about three months of intense involvement, not just for kids, but for parents—coordinating volunteers, sending emails, organizing meals, assisting with and washing uniforms, chaperoning stinky school buses, lugging giant jugs of water, fielding questions, guarding seats in the football stadium stands, running fundraisers, building props, transporting equipment, diagnosing tummyaches that may or may not be appendicitis, paying for the privilege of volunteering at competitions, sitting in the heat, sitting in the cold, sitting in the rain— the list goes on.
As the co-president of the band's parent group, I am immensely grateful to my co-president for her impossible-to-count contributions so far this year. Her help has kept me sane, and it's often at the expense of her time and income as the sole propreitor of her own business. What's more, for every parent that volunteered time and offered their help, I am also incredibly grateful. It takes a village to keep this girl going, and without all the help of a group of parents that I now call friends, I'm certain my child's experience in band would have been exponentially less gratifying. This group, this band, helps my kid in ways I can't even explain, and so I help it.
And it's not without some small bit of selfish cause—these people whose help I so readily accept and so rarely acknowledge are, as I said, friends—the people I laugh with, get teary with, share book ideas with, eat breakfast with, shop at Costco with, make band programs with, burn my fingers on glue guns with ... by giving back, by helping—I have already been rewarded over and again.
So to my readers I say this—if you have a chance to help—to volunteer—the reward isn't necessarily in the "thank you." Often times, what you get out of helping others is so much more than what you put into it. To my peeps in the GBSIL, and you know who you are, I salute you.
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