It is easy to be there for someone else. It is easy for me to feel needed, wanted and valued. It might be a great gift for my friend, but it is an even greater gift for me to participate in helping lift them and take care of their needs. For me, the gift is in the helping. It is in feeling needed. It is in doing a good deed.
I have a hard time letting others do things for me. I have a hard time in showing that weakness to them. In being unable to help myself.
One of the greatest gifts I ever received was done by a loving visiting teacher. I was pregnant with my last baby and having a very difficult time. I was sick, I had gestational diabetes. I was tired, I worked every day, and we had 10 children at the time, most of them lived at home. Most of them were teenagers who were too busy to help.
I was exhausted, not sleeping good, and overwhelmed with being pregnant and having a new baby. My visiting teacher came over, took one look at my situation and proceeded to take all the laundry in the house. I objected, to no avail. She took all the laundry home and washed and dried and folded it and brought it back the next day. I have never in my life had a gift that meant so much to me.
It was a totally simple act of service and love. It was not expensive, or even hard, but it meant the world to this very exhausted mother, and I am pretty sure that it was a service rendered that she also never forgot.
There are times to serve, and also times to be served. There are times to take care of others, and times to be taken care of. There are times to ache, and times to heal. There is comfort in taking care of my friends and neighbors, and also times to be comforted and cared for.
I am convinced that part of friendship is putting your trust in others to care for you. It is allowing them to see your weaknesses and give you their own gift of strength. It is love in action.