Gratitude for the Kindness of Strangers (and Loved-Ones!)

“Mom, I’m going to make some tea,” I said to my mother, before realizing that both the tea and the mugs were out of my reach, and the kettle was too heavy for me to lift. Two days post-surgery on my parathyroid and I was getting a big lesson on how to ask for and receive help. As a postpartum doula I am usually on the other side of this equation. I remind my clients: no request is too big or too small. I offer help making meals, changing diapers, massaging away aches, and of course, brewing countless cups of tea. 

On this occasion of attempting to make tea, I had just awoken from a nap, lulled to sleep by the sound of my mother chopping vegetables for dinner (or perhaps for my next few dinners). I stirred honey into the cup of tea my mother made: stirring the honey was the only part I could do myself. I remembered just how hard it is to ask for help. Even when we really need it. It was my turn to ask and receive. 

Over the weeks that followed my surgery, I felt immense gratitude when someone brought by a meal, thoughtfully left snack and flowers on my doorstep, lifted or carried something for me, or offered to simply come keep me company on the couch. I couldn’t believe how often other people, sometimes total strangers, offered their assistance. 

This fall as we step toward Thanksgiving and our yearly celebration of gratitude for all we have, take a moment to pause and thank those who have helped you this year—those you asked and those who simply offered. You might find your circle of support is larger than you realized.