Favor

FAVOR: An act of gracious kindness

This morning, my doorbell rang and a friend stepped inside with two bags full of hand-me-downs for my daughter. This afternoon, a friend dropped my son off after school so that my daughter’s nap would not be interrupted. While procrastinating on nap time chores, I logged on to Facebook and saw this quote (attributed to Anne Wilson Shaef):

“Asking for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.”

So, I find myself thinking about favors during this nap time date with my computer.

Daughter can be frequently heard announcing, “I can do it myself!” This is probably just phase, but it’s also possible that it is a character trait inherited from her mother that will last well into adulthood. Only time will tell.

Despite my distaste for it, motherhood requires a great deal of humility. In the past month, I have been on the receiving end of countless favors. A friend watched my children so that I could attend a kindergarten tour; another mom covered my preschool shift so that I could make it to an appointment; strangers let me cut in line so that I wouldn’t be late to pick Son up from school; I borrowed serving dishes for a dinner I was hosting; a doctor created an opening in his schedule to bring me peace of mind; a grandmother returned my grocery cart so that I could get my children out of the rain; my son received numerous rides to and from school.

Sometimes, I’m the one to grant a favor.  Sometimes I get the chance to prepare a meal, take an extra preschool shift, or drop off a bag of clothes on someone’s porch. One time, I even got to deliver a black feather boa to a friend in need. In each instance, I have been energized by the effort.

In general, I enjoy the role of favor grantor more than favor grantee. Proving that it is indeed more blessed (and less humbling) to give than to receive.

Regardless of the role I’m playing in a particular favor exchange, I have found that the very act of exchanging favors strengthens friendships. Asking for a favor requires a willingness to expose the tender underbelly of desperation. Granting a favor requires the ability to prioritize another person’s needs above your own and a willingness to offer assistance without the promise of reciprocation.  There is no better fertilizer for friendship than a favor.

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