Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Being the type A person that I am, I have often squirmed, suffered and freaked out rather than asking for help.

We have been the recipients of a bunch of it lately, and this repeated exposure to my phobia is starting to smooth some of my sharper edges.

My mom spent an entire week packing up our kitchen. Our wonderful neighbor showed up with delicious lunches twice last weekend.

We spent the night at Trevor's grandmother's house this weekend. We had fretted over inconveniencing Millie or getting her in trouble-- technically, she's not supposed to have overnight guests in her senior apartment complex.

By the time we arrived at her house, she had fluffed up the carpet, pulled out a stack of blankets and cranked the heat to "tropical." She spent an hour telling us goodnight. In the morning, she sprang out of bed the minute she heard us stir and fired up her tiny coffee pot.

Millie was so thrilled to offer us her hospitality that it felt like we were giving her a gift in accepting it. When we bought her a loaf of bread later, I thought about how giving and receiving helps build the web of relationship. By the end of the weekend, we were "even," but from sleeping on her floor and drinking her coffee, I felt a depth of connection with her I had not experienced in the twelve years I've been part of her family.

These experiences make it harder to leave home, of course. But they also reminds me that when I get to Africa, my job is not just to sweep in and help the Zambians. Just as important will be accepting help.

(PS: The dog photo-- completely gratuitous. Isn't she cute, though?)

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