Thoughts to Ponder – August 6, 2015
Two days ago I was scheduled to assist at a local hospital blood drive. I had an earlier appointment so arrived two hours late. I found the canteen in a mess: no cups, no napkins and no recycling container. I asked my co-worker where those things were. She said, “This is all they gave us.” This was true. The Red Cross only provides the basics and the host site provides the nice touches.
I walked across the hall and asked a cafeteria worker if we could have some paper cups. She walked into the store room and returned with an unopened bag of plastic cups, just the right size for a little ice and a can of juice. I then went to the dining room accessory table and grabbed a stack of napkins. Then I asked one of the blood drive staff if he had an extra plastic bag I could use for recycling. He produced the perfect size bag. At the end of the afternoon I had a full bag of cans and cardboard containers to bring home and add to my bin.
My co-worker said, “You’re a miracle worker. You just show up and we get everything we need.” I replied, “I’m not a miracle worker. I just asked if these items were available.”
While I was slightly bemused by the incident, I also felt sad for her. I used to be that way. When I was a child we were poor, so I learned quickly not to ask for things. My parents provided what they could and otherwise I did without. They also told me not to ask others for things because it was not polite. When I married and was dissatisfied with our living conditions an officer’s wife told me, “If they Army had wanted your husband to have a wife, they would have issued him one.”
A few years later I needed a new pair of shoes. My Keds were getting holes in the canvas. Finally, in frustration, I asked my husband why he didn’t buy me a new pair. He said, “Why didn’t you ask? I thought you liked wearing them that way.”
After still more years I was hired at a new job and given a tiny cubicle with a wobbly chair and a few worn out desk accessories. I used my own pens and pencils. One day I happened to ask my co-worker how she had acquired such nice office supplies when I had such poor quality items. She walked me over to the office supply cabinet and told me to help myself. I did and she helped me carry my new supplies to my cubicle. When she saw my chair, she walked with me to the supervisor to ask for a new chair, which I received within a day. It turned out that my cubicle had been empty for some time and people had just gotten in the habit of dumping their old things in there when they got new. Ask for what you want was beginning to soak into my brain.
A few years ago my mom (about 4 ft. 11 in.) and I went to a public event and thought we’d chosen a good viewing area. Just as the program was starting, a few very large men stepped in front of us and blocked our view. My mother became angry and said, “I guess he doesn’t know he makes a better door than a window.” I told her that they probably didn’t even notice us since we were smaller than they. She replied, “Well, they could have looked around before they barged in.” I tapped one of the men on the arm and asked, “Can my mother stand in front of you. She’s short and can’t see.” The man smiled and said, “Of course, and you come up here too. I’m sorry. We just didn’t notice you standing there.” I thanked him, we moved to the front and enjoyed the program.
Learning to ask for what I want was a long, slow process. But it works, even when what you want is intangible. I’ve learned to ask my Higher Power for things like safety, arriving where I’m going on time, friendship and even groceries. All are provided when I remember to ask. A lesson from the Bible says simply, “Ask and it shall be given.”
However, we cannot forget that asking is a two-part process. The second part is saying, “Thank you.” All people and entities enjoy giving to people who appreciate their efforts and tend to feel used when those who ask don’t express gratitude.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
Thank you for giving me these words. I hope they will help someone find the courage to ask for what he/she needs.
And, so it is.
© by Sharon D. Dillon, August 6, 2015
Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists
Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com