I bought a treadmill several weeks ago. It arrived very quickly, delivered by a very nice delivery man who almost effortlessly plonked it down where I directed him to….at the entryway to my office. The office that used to be a dining room, but since I have no real need for a dining room, and a need of somewhere to put my desk and bookshelves, an office is what works for me. This is the depository room anyway…the place where the odd stuff goes. One day it will be cleaned and decorated. For now it is an untidy hovel, full of the papers that overwhelm my ADD mind. One day I will sort through them. Maybe. More likely it will be my family upon my death. I apologize in advance….though know I will be giggling as you do it. And know that treasures probably await you, so there is some incentive!
I hadn’t even considered the fact that the treadmill would need to be assembled. OK….logically I knew it would, but for some reason I didn’t consider my ineptness at putting things together, or the issues I have doing anything that requires a combination of hands, brain and attention span.
After looking at the box for a few days I realized I was ridiculous to be intimidated by it, so opened the box and started taking pieces out. It was then I realized how very heavy the base of the treadmill was and that there was no way possible to get it out of that box by myself. Not so very ridiculous to be intimidated after all!
A few days later my 18-year old niece Taylor was visiting. Taylor looks small, but she has always been crazy strong, so I thought maybe the two of us could get it out of there. It didn’t take long for us to realize there was no way just the two of us could lift it out of there. I hear the sound of my yard guy’s leaf blower and run to get him to help. We get it out…though the process was not pretty (pieces stuck to the box, causing an awkward series of pushing and pulling to separate box and base.) I decided that was enough treadmill for one day.
I have an open floor plan, so this treadmill now sits in the middle of my house, mocking me each time I go by. I pretend it’s not getting to me (because I don’t want it to know its power), but the intimidation just festers.
I have asked for help along the way, but people are busy and that just hasn’t worked out. And honestly sometimes I feel I spend much of my life begging for help and it just seems to make me aware of my own inadequacies.
Though that sounds like it comes from a place of self pity, and I have felt my share of self pity in this process, I am not there at the moment. The truth is that I suspect I probably need to make another attempt or two to put it together on my own, but if I fail in these attempts I also need to remember that there is a reason that we are put in a world surrounded by other people. We are not meant to do it all by ourselves.
We’re living in a world of easy isolation. We could easily stay home and live with almost no contact with the outside world. You can shop for everything imaginable online. You can work from home (well, many of us can!). You can have online friends who listen to your problems and talk to you, without ever having met you in person….or who you can just see these folks interact with others online and cyber-stalk them for your entertainment. You can know everything of significance about them, but since you have never reached out to them, they don’t even know you exist. Sometimes this isolated world is enticing to me.
But even we introverts were not created for this sort of isolation. It’s unhealthy. We were created for relationships and interaction and community. We were created to be inter-connected. To help each other. To support one another. To use our glorious collection of strengths and weaknesses in such a way that we create better lives for ourselves and each other, and create an amazing tapestry where the ugly knots show on the other side as a beautiful pattern.
I remember a sermon a long time ago from my precious pastor John Kimmons (I started to say former pastor, but then I realized in many ways he still pastors me) where he said “How do you expect people to meet your needs if you don’t tell them what they are?” It was a life changing statement for me, because often I just won’t (and sometimes feel sorry for myself because no one seems to notice them on their own. Like they should be able to read my crazy mind!)
I believe that God gives us what we need in life, and one of those gifts is each other. We were created for dependency. We were created with needs, and to meet the needs of others. When those of us with needs don’t share the needs with others, sometimes we are keeping someone else from doing what they were created for. And why do we think that we should only share that need once, or with one person? Sometimes we have to ask over and over again… sometimes our pride needs to be worked down a few notches.
While I believe in this inter-dependency, I also think we all need to live a balance of giving and receiving. Sometimes we need to quit being a dependent, stop whining and do it ourselves. If you’re doing a lot if taking, maybe you need to look at how you can start exercising those giving muscles. No matter your circumstances, if you are still alive on this earth there is probably something you should be giving. And if you are doing all if the giving, maybe you need to find places you can ask for help and learn the gift of receiving graciously.
I went to Autumn at Oz last weekend and was reminded of that great movie The Wizard of Oz. The lion was lacking courage, the scarecrow was lacking a brain, the tinman was lacking a heart and Dorothy was lacking her home. By themselves they all would have continued to be less than their potential, but coming together they all got what they needed….and they all lived happily ever after.
Give. And take. And sometimes get your butt in gear and try it alone. Look for a balance of the three. God teaches us who he is when we exercise each.
It may be just a treadmill….but that object contains a lot of lessons about life for me right now. One day soon that lesson may be about exercising some different muscles.