Dear Fellow Travelers,
When my brother and I were young we had a red Radio Flyer wagon. Since he was 4 ½ years older, he would pull me around the yard in the wagon, especially if we were in the far back corners of the yard and I got too tired to walk back up the slope of our lawn to the house. Some years ago, I came across a very small duplicate that had been used in a floral arrangement at a baby shower. That Christmas I filled it with all of my brother’s favorite foods, using recipes modified to fit his eating plan. The gift was not only greatly appreciated since he was single at the time and not terribly fond of cooking, but also was the genesis for multiple conversations about our childhood and our “little red wagon”. Not too many months later a family crisis came about and my brother constructed this analogy. He said that our family has its own dedicated wagon that we use to help each other along the journey. Sometimes it’s our turn in the wagon and sometimes it’s our turn to pull. I love this, and we have used it many times since. Various members have had their energetic turn in the wagon. At times that has meant something tangible, others an action or favor and many times simply sending loving thoughts & energy.
As young children we think nothing of taking our turn in the wagon. Indeed, we are more likely to fight over whose turn it is making sure that we don’t get stuck pulling all the time. Why is it, then, that so many of us as adults fight so hard to NOT take a turn in the wagon? What do we think it means? What do we think it says about us? That we’re weak? Lazy? Irresponsible? Why do so many of us insist on being the one to pull, exhausting and depleting ourselves along the way? As adults we seem to forget that we are not capable of doing all the work, being the one to constantly care for others, never taking time to refresh ourselves.
I think part of the issue for those of us who are uncomfortable with accepting help is a belief that we will be putting undue stress on another. We can come up with hundreds of reasons why we “shouldn’t” allow them to help. To that I say, consider the evolution of the butterfly. Yes, I said butterfly. What do butterflies have to do with this topic? I’m glad you asked. When a caterpillar has transformed into a butterfly, it begins to break out of the chrysalis. It’s a real struggle since the wings are not functional at this point. It is, in fact, the struggle that forces fluid from the body to the wings that makes them strong enough to carry the weight of the butterfly. Without the struggle, the wings would be useless and the butterfly would never fly.
So my challenge today for all of us who think we have to do it all is to consider that from time to time it’s our turn in the wagon and let someone else pull for a while. We may just find when we do that we’ve allowed someone else to build the muscle necessary to fly.
Blessings & Light,