It was early evening when she came down the stairs and told us she was going to church the next morning. She needed to go, and so she was going. And anyone else who wanted to was welcome, more than welcome–she’d love the company–to go with her.
To say I was taken aback would be an understatement. I was speechless for a moment or two.
Not because I thought she was wrong for saying it, but because I was a little shocked–and envious.
Here was a young woman, my sister, younger than I, speaking her mind. Saying what she needed.
I want to do THAT.
The thing is, no one thought she was wrong or inappropriate for speaking up. Quite the opposite. We all worked it out so it could happen.
And so it did. And it was a good thing.
Over the weekend I heard two people sharing stories about a mutual friend. It seems that he is a particular eater. Not picky. But intentional. I get it. So he went to a gathering at one of the friends’ house and under one arm he carried a blender. In his hand he held a bag of things to blend.
For his healthy smoothie.
He was there for the fellowship, and knowing that he probably wouldn’t be able to eat what was there, he carried his own vittles.
And no one thought unkindly of him. Hearing the story I was again envious that this man was able to take care of himself, in the least obtrusive way possible. He did what he needed to do for him, which made him able to be a better friend to all at the party–because he wasn’t stressed over the menu and what he could or could not eat.
My sister was a better parent, I’d daresay, after she was able to go and feed her soul as she had expressed she needed to do.
Good for them.
Sometimes I have a need, and yet I’m hesitant to express it. Out of guilt? Feeling selfish? Not having enough time? Perhaps it’s being raised in the south where you often hear, “Bless her heart, she was such a good person–never took a minute for herself, always doing for others. Such a gracious lady.”
I don’t mean to say that we need to become self-centered and egocentric, but I don’t think, as evidenced by the church visit and the blender, that folks will gasp in horror, clutch their pearls, and kick me out of polite society if I say, “Hey, you know what I need to happen right about now?”
But that’s what I fear, I think.
Bad parent. Spouse. Friend. Family.
“Did you hear her just say what she needed? I swanee, she’s got some nerve!”
The truth is that I think those who love me will likely shrug and say, “Huh, never knew that, okay.” And the ones who don’t may very well tsk tsk and shake their heads and maybe even wag their tongues–but I can’t let that keep me from speaking up. Besides, my needs are not really all that interesting fodder for gossip anyway.
Last fall I really wanted a fire pit. I hinted around and no one was biting. (Well, who can blame them–I was being really subtle so as to be more grace-filled…..*sigh*) Finally I resorted to “sending pins” on Pinterest and YouTube how-to videos to the Fella and my oldest.
And you know what?
I got that fire pit! On my birthday.
And the adventures we’ve had since we got it?
It was hard for me to speak up. (Well, I came close, right? With the videos and pins?) But I think my people were a little relieved that they didn’t have to guess or try to hack into my Amazon account to see what I might want.
A fire pit?
Took me nearly twelve years of marriage to figure that one out, but now that I have, I’ve figured out it’s actually pretty nice.
And if it can’t be done or made or given, well that’s okay too. That’s part of this speaking your needs thing. At least someone has thought about it and tried.
What’s on your heart? What matters to you? What would mean the world to you if someone would just…..?
Tell them. Speak up. It doesn’t matter what it is, if it comes from deep down within you, this need, then it’s okay. Just tell someone you love and trust. Tell someone what you need.
I’ll be you’ll be surprised.
Tonight I’m thankful for those who listen to me and who encourage me and give me permission to want and hope and need. And speak up. Most of all I’m thankful for my fire pit, which is fun in itself, but also warms my toes–and my heart, as I remember that I was heard when I spoke my heart…..and it was okay.
Love to all.