So, almost twenty years on a farm and I can NOT back a trailer. Nope. Can’t do it.
One day I spent hours trying to teach myself how to do it. Never was able to do anything other than manage to jackknife the trailer, go unhook it and start over.
So when I go somewhere with a trailer I do one of two things: (1) I find a space where I can drive in and be able to just make a loop or (2) I find the nearest person who CAN back a trailer, hand them my keys and ask them to do it.
I feel NO shame.
But that’s not the case with other things I can’t do. So many times I try to avoid admitting that I am unable to meet certain people’s expectations or do certain things that I either used to be able to do or feel I SHOULD be able to do.
I think the reason I don’t mind outing myself on trailers is because that confession usually gets a laugh or a knowing look from the person who helps me or an admission from someone standing near at the feed store that they also have trouble backing up a trailer.
But when I say, “I just don’t think I’m up to teaching VBS” or “I’d love to come to that event but I’ve reached my social quota this week” or “I’m still struggling with driving by that spot or eating at that restaurant” it’s often met with (at best) a quizzical look or (at worst) a comment about how I should be “better” by now.
And then I DO feel shamed. I feel like I don’t measure up, like I’m not as valuable as the next person or that I have failed some cosmic test.
You know what though? That’s a reflection on other people’s lack of compassion and experience or their personal insecurity NOT a reflection of my worth.
It is really just fine for me to admit my limitations because EVERYONE has limitations.
I can’t lift a 250 lb barbell. But I can whip up dinner for fifty people. I can’t read Chinese but I can read Dr. Seuss with an accent and hit all the rhymes on cue. I can’t run a marathon but I can work all day without complaining (most of the time).
I’m human (surprise!). So are you.
I have some limitations as a result of burying a child. You may have limitations because of age or disease or something else I don’t know about or can’t see.
Let’s make a pact: I’ll take you as you are and you can take me as I am. I’ll help you when you need help and you can help me when I need help.
We will extend grace and receive grace as needed to make life work.
Isn’t that really the essence of human community?