December is known as the month of giving; Giving Tuesday is in December. While everyone is concentrating on the importance of giving and shopping local, which I do agree are important, I want to talk about the importance of receiving.

I lasted until December before catching COVID.  I felt my odds of catching it were pretty good from the beginning since my husband is a pilot and we cannot limit who we have contact with due to his work.  However, it was not him, but me who came down with it.

I have no idea where or from whom I got it. The few people I saw without a mask, I privately contacted. In case I missed anyone, I posted on Facebook as I assumed that was the most responsible thing to do.  My husband was out on a trip for six days so I was alone and necessarily quarantined.  I felt stuck. I felt sick. I felt helpless.

Many people on Facebook posted that if I needed anything to just let them know. In my mind, they had to say that.  It is like when you go to the store and the clerk asks how you are.  You could be having the worst day ever and you say, “fine” the lady checking your groceries does not want to hear the saga of how your dog just died, right? It is polite conversation. There is an expected question and an expected response. Imagine the apple cart that would be tilted upside down if you broke down while checking out groceries because your four legged friend of 12 years just died.  No one knows how to handle that.

These were my assumptions.  People offered, they felt better for offering, but I was not supposed to take them up on it and everyone is good.  Yet, I was still sick, stuck and helpless.  At night the nausea set in.  I had no crackers or ginger ale.  It sounds so silly, but I really wanted crackers and ginger ale.

I reached out.  At first I was really hesitant, I did not want to be a bother.  My girlfriend said she was running to the store anyway and she would love to pick up anything I needed.  This made me feel so much better; it wasn’t a huge inconvenience, she was going anyway.  The crackers and ginger ale were wonderful!

I have another friend who finished up a large project I had almost completed but that had a deadline on it.  She volunteered to wrap it up for me.  I physically could not have done anything to meet the deadline or finish the project.  An enormous weight lifted from me knowing that I was still going to be able to meet expectations even though it was not actually me meeting them.

This all had me thinking back to times when I have had friends that have had surgery, personal losses or needed help.  Even when we do not know exactly how to help, doing anything, giving anything feels better than doing nothing.  And for the person in need, being able to receive that love, wrapped up in a casserole, Suduko puzzles to stave off boredom, a trip to the grocery store or help with the laundry is a gift to yourself when you need care and a gift to others who want to show you their concern.

I am one of the most independent people I know.  Yet I ended up needing help.  I had to learn how to receive and I am so grateful for the people who came to my aid.