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How to Let Others Serve You in Your Time of Need

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This is going to surprise you but life sometimes gets messy! Discover how to let others serve you in your time need when life gets real.

Every Sunday morning (barring illness or emergency) my family gets ready for church. I wish I could say that I instill an attitude of reverence and worship into my family as we prepare. I wish I could say that Sunday mornings are my best mornings because I am excitedly anticipating the joys of communal worship.

But the reality is, Sunday mornings are my least favorite. I know that in addition to the chaos of every other morning I will have the added “bonus” of trying to get everyone out the door at a specific time, fed, and looking their best with underwear and shoes, always a surprising struggle.

This is going to surprise you but life sometimes gets messy! Discover how to let others serve you in your time need when life gets real. #caregiver #sandwichgeneration #multigenerational #findhelp #parentingparents #perfectionist #caregiving #alzheimers #dementia #seniorhealth #agingparent

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I’ve tried everything in my power to keep our Sunday morning stress-free.
  • Lay out clothes the night before.
  • Simple breakfast.
  • Bags packed ahead of time.

It doesn’t matter. I still walk into church wound up like a top, ready to spin out of control. I look around at my church family and quietly pray they won’t see my stress through my manicured facade.

You see, I have a problem. I’m not perfect.

To those that know me well (or those that witnessed me trying to check out at HEB with a begging 6-year-old, shrieking 3-year-old, crying 6-month-old, and MIL trying to peel avocados while waiting in line), this should come as no surprise.

Related Post: 10 Tips for Multigenerational Grocery Shopping

You might be thinking that this isn’t a problem as no one is perfect. But you see, I desire perfection. Not so much being perfect, but rather appearing perfect.
I want my life to look so flawless from the outside that there is no room for judgement from the casual observer. This means my charges must also appear perfect. So, in we march on Sunday mornings, in our best clothes, on our best behavior, with a smile and a, “We’re fine, thank you,” on our lips.

But then there are some days when life hits us in the hallway and our perfect-appearing lives are smeared with a healthy dose of reality.

A Messy Situation

It was a typical Sunday morning. Hectic at home, but we made it on time and in our Sunday best. We even took a family photo in front of the Christmas tree in the church’s finely decorated Fellowship Hall.
I was busy juggling mothering a still-nursing infant and subbing for our traveling music minister when my mother came to find me.

There was a problem.

There’s never a good time for a problem but this announcement could not have come at a worse time. Twenty minutes before the service started with a baby at the breast, trying to get him through the next hour without me is not a good time for a problem.
My mom continued and my heart dropped with each word. My MIL had tried to get to the bathroom. She didn’t make it…

Say, what now?

She didn’t make it? You mean she needs a change of underwear? She has a wet dress?
Nope.
Poop. All over her legs, down her dress, and along the children’s classroom corridor.

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I sat, stunned for a moment. Then, nodded my head and said, “You’ll have to give me a minute to finish with the baby.”
I sat there running over my options until I had a plan.
First, I would take care of my MIL first, clean her up as best I could and my husband would get her home and in the shower. Then I would gather cleaning supplies and clean the hall and bathroom. And have have all this done within my remaining 10 minutes before I had to lead the music for our worship service.

The Illusion of Self-Sufficiency

Resolutely I stood up, passed the baby to my mom, informed my husband of our plan, and marched to the ladies’ room. I went the back way to avoid as many people as possible.
I passed by a very apologetic class member who told me she tried to help my MIL to the bathroom and relayed to me how embarrassed my MIL was about her accident. Thanking her for her help, I walked down the hall looking with sharp, experienced eyes for the foretold disaster but saw nothing out of the ordinary.

“Hmmm, maybe I misunderstood,” I thought.

I opened the door to the bathroom and found my MIL standing over the toilet embarrassed and confused. Getting her cleaned up as best I could in the public restroom, I ushered her out the door to my husband waiting by the car. Once I went back inside and was met by another parishioner, this one with cleaning supplies in her hand.

Understanding came swiftly, immediately followed by a rush of gratitude over what this friend had just done. For me at home, these accidents are not uncommon but I still vividly remember the horror I felt the first few times I experienced them. I knew the tremendous act of service this sweet lady had just performed for me. I thanked her profusely. She replied simply, “You would have done the same for me.”

Selfless Service

As I was reflecting about the morning, I found myself again filled with gratitude but of a different sort. This incident taught me so many lessons. You see, in my moment of reality, of imperfection, I was able to experience an act of friendship, of service, of true selflessness.

Related Post: Why Do Caregivers Have Difficulties with Friendships?

It’s ok to be vulnerable and let others help you. In all my planning on how to handle this incident with minimal embarrassment, it never once occurred to me to ask for help. I’m grateful to have friends who don’t wait to be asked.
The biggest revelation to come from this incident is that despite how I often I feel I’m alone in this journey, that no one could possibly understand my struggles, there are people out there who are ready, willing, and able to help. It’s my responsibility to let go of my need for perfection and let them.

Did you like this post? Do you have trouble receiving acts of service when you need help? Let me know in the comments below!

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This is going to surprise you but life sometimes gets messy! Discover how to let others serve you in your time need when life gets real. #caregiver #sandwichgeneration #multigenerational #findhelp #parentingparents #perfectionist #caregiving #alzheimers #dementia #seniorhealth #agingparent

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