Although I titled this like a tutorial with the words “how to”, it isn’t one. Instead, it is more a realization that I had today. With our words, we often ask for help, but then with our actions, we push it away. We often don’t realize that we are doing it, and we get frustrated. With awareness, we might get our words and our actions into better alignment.
Each Sunday, my husband and I get the coffee made for the post-worship fellowship hour at my church. We arrive about 45 minutes early and load up the regular and decaf coffee pots, set them out in the parish hall, and plug them in so they will be ready by the time worship is over. I set out the hot water pot for tea, the tea bags and sugar bowls. Little A sets out the mugs and brings out spoons for stirring. My husband sets up a table for the potluck refreshments. I enjoy this part of the job. I like making people feel welcome and warm. Feeding people comes naturally to me. The part that gets tiring is the clean up afterwards. Sometimes I don’t want to stay late after church, and I just want to go home.
In years past, we had sign up sheets for people to take turns hosting coffee hour. The job included setting out the coffee, cleaning up afterwards, and also (supposedly) optionally, bringing in refreshments to share. Attendance has dropped over the last ten years, and it was getting harder to fill weeks with volunteers, so this year, I (being the Kitchen Koordinator) decided that I would come start the coffee each week, and refreshments would be potluck. This has been more or less working, with some weeks having more participation than others.
I still have a sign up sheet for clean up, though. And I still have a hard time filling the weeks. Today during announcements, I asked for people to please volunteer to help clean up. If I don’t ask, it won’t happen, right? I then proceeded to retreat to the kitchen and start preliminary clean up. I ran the first load of empty mugs through the dishwasher and set it on the counter to cool for a moment before putting them away. A gentleman, Mr. W, came in and asked about putting them away and I said I was letting them cool for a moment first. He said he would come back to put them away.
I felt a weird feeling in my body at that moment. Perhaps you might recognize it. I have felt it before, but had never identified it properly. My first thought was that he was intruding on “my kitchen”. Then it hit me. He was answering my request for help. How stupid of me to feel offended that he was offering to help with “my job” when I had specifically asked for it. With that realization, I thanked him, left the kitchen, and sat down in the parish hall to do some knitting and enjoy the murmuring hum of coffee hour. I even think clean up proceeded faster than if I had done it myself.
Asking v. answering v. allowing
Those who follow the Law of Attraction have most likely heard of the three steps to fulfilling your desires. First, we ask for what we want, sometimes through our actual words, more often simply through our personal vibration. That is our job. Second, the Law of Attraction goes into action to answer our desire. That is the job of the Universe, God, Source, whatever you call it, and it never fails. We often forget, though, that there is a third step, which is also our job. That is to allow it into our lives.
I used my words to ask for help with clean up today. That was step 1. Mr. W answered my request and came into the kitchen to help. That was step 2. Then, I had to get out of my own way and allow him to help. That was step 3. How often do we miss out on the answers to our prayers because we don’t recognize them and turn them away? Or feel resentful or jealous when they arrive?
If you have trouble getting people to help you with something, then I would like to encourage you to practice allowing it more. It was hard for me to relinquish the kitchen into someone else’s care today. But when you think about it, the kitchen was in perfectly good hands before I started attending ten years ago. And after I am gone, it will continue to find good hands to care for it. I am not the only person in the church who can competently clean up after coffee hour. I bet you will find that others can surprise you with their skill if you give them a chance to help you.