Thirty some-odd years ago, I was single-parenting, $20 budgeted a week for food, living in subsidized
housing in downtown Lynn, working full time, learning computer programming at NSCC, being hauled
into family court on a regular basis to change child visitation terms – in other words, a little busy. The
one time I had every week where I knew I would have some peace and time for self-reflection was the
worship service at church. Also I had no money to pledge, so I put my heart into volunteering there,
teaching in the RE program and serving on committees, always with my little one in tow.
One of the things I loved about Sunday mornings at church was catching up with my friends. One of
them might say to me, “So Lyssa, what’s going on with you?” “Well, when did I speak with you last?
Since then, I’ve blah blahblahblahblah.” The only way I could manage to do everything on my plate was
not to think of it as unmanageable. It had to be done; I did it. One day, one of my church friends, after
listening to my latest litany of endeavors and setbacks, said “You know, Lyssa, you don’t have to do it all
by yourself – that’s what friends are for.” Blew my mind. It had simply never occurred to me.
I thought about this long and hard and wondered exactly how one would go about that – asking for help.
As luck would have it, the following day, my trusty Dodge Dart had to be towed from my workplace to
the service station for some work. I set my mind to the task of how I was going to get to the service
station, pay for the work and make it to my son’s daycare before it closed. More blah blahblah. Then a
lightbulb moment! I called my friend. “Do you remember what you told me yesterday?” I asked. I have
no idea how many of her own plans she might have had to postpone to help me out that day, but she
took at least an hour out of her day to pick me up and deliver me to my transportation. We’ve laughed
about it ever since.
We all forget to do self-care now and then, when things get difficult. We also forget to make ourselves
open to seeing the needs of others. I’ve made a little personal study over the years. When we get stuck
in the blah blahblah, it casts a shadow on our spirit. When we ask for help, we raise the spirit of
everyone involved, both the helper and the helped. When we open ourselves to seeing the needs of
others and proactively offer a helping hand or a soft shoulder or a simple good morning, our spirits are
at peace. So please take my friend’s advice and remember, you don’t have to do it all by yourself – that’s
what friends are for.
UUCGL PresidentBoard of Trustees