Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Learning to accept help

One of the greatest lesson I learned during my first 3Day was to accept help.  It's fair to say I'm bad at asking for help and even worse at accepting help from others whether I've asked for it or not.  I've known this about myself most of my adult life and have just come to accept it.  Until the Tampa 3Day that is.  The story below is one I tell and type with tears in my eyes.  It changed my life and for that I'm forever thankful. 

My feet didn't hold up so well during the 3Day.  What I'd do different for my feet will be covered in future blog posts.  Suffice to say, I was in a lot of pain.  So much so that I would walk a while and then take one of the sweep vans (a topic also to be covered in future blog posts) to the rest stop then walk a while longer.  It was a very long journey to the finish line.

In true Komen style, the finish line was nothing short of amazing.  Near Tampa's amazing bay and lined with people and ribbons and cheering fans I started the journey to the finish line.  I was exhausted and every step felt like I could just scream.  My feet had moved from pain to numb back to horrible pain.  But I was determined.  I was going to cross that finish line if it killed me.  After all, it was the moment I'd played in my head throughout my training.

As I entered the tunnel of people and cheering supporters I was trying not to look at anyone.  Tears were pouring down my cheeks and I was honestly embarrassed to be in such bad shape (Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds).  As I limped along, a woman I'd never seen in my life came along my left side, wrapped her arm around me and said, "Lean on me.  I got this.  We'll get there together".  With her help I walked about a third of the tunnel of people.  Then another woman came to my right side, wrapped her arm around me and said to the woman on my left, "I got her.  I'll take it from here." and she walked me another third of the way.  Then there was a third woman who got me through the tunnel of people doing yet the same thing.  It felt like I was in a made for TV movie or something.  Simply one of the finest moments of my life.

What a great lesson on accepting help from others.  I'm a prideful person, I'll admit that.  Ironically, I'm not a judgmental person and am very generous.  Basically I believed, "It's ok for me to give you help or for you to accept help from others, its just not ok for me.  I must be stronger.  I must be tough.  I must not bother anyone else with my needs"  I realize now how far back this attitude held me.  Even through my success personally and professionally I felt like I was taking the hard road.  Of course I was! I was going it alone! 

Now I see that others are in your life for a reason and that reason is to bring both lessons and laughter.  We've heard Oprah say it over and over again that God speaks to you with a whisper and if you don't listen he gets louder and louder until the lesson you need to learn just hits you.  Clearly, I didn't listen to the whispers of accepting help so God finally had to turn to my blistered broken down feet for me to see what was so important.

Today, I am more patient with myself and I'm even more generous with my giving to others because I understand the importance of accepting others' generosity.  One more way the Komen 3Day changed me forever.

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