Ann at work. Worrying that she might get tired, I prepared the "Cadillac" chair for her.
How can we build a community where people feel comfortable asking and offering help to one another? I haven’t yet found it, but l feel fortunate that I was able to foster friendships with a few people to a degree that we are overcoming our hesitancy to ask. This is, to me, the very beginning of a community building that I dream to be part of.
When I was repainting the exterior of my house recently, my 75-year-old friend Ann called me and said she would come to help me. I did not think she could, as her gait was unsteady and her hands were shaky. Despite that, she showed up next day with a pot of soup to share with my helpers. Several years ago, when she had stained her deck, I had gathered my friends and gone to help her. As she remembered it, she wanted to reciprocate to me however small her contribution might be.
Gary, another friend of mine, had 3 days off from his seasonal work in Montana and returned home on the weekend I started my painting project. Initially I declined his offer of assist, as I wanted him to spend time with his wife Bjo. However, Bjo replied, “We will spend time together helping you.”
My chance to return them a favor came when heavy rain we had a month ago flooded their basement. Gary was back in Montana, and I was in the middle of my painting project. Of course, I put the project aside and went to clean the basement.
I believe in interdependent relationships. The exchanges of labor I mentioned above are a minor aspect of such relationships, but love, respect and trust that we have developed toward each other mean the whole world to me. I feel rich just to know I am blessed with such friends.