I got to hold a newborn baby this week. I know, I know, I have a baby of my own, but still…newborns make me weak in the knees.
My sweet friend, whom I actually wrote about before, had a baby. A much anticipated and prayed for baby. Oh, the joy of answered prayers!
As I took food on their first day home from the hospital, I asked her, “How are you doing?”
She replied with the obligatory, “Fine.”
Only, I didn’t believe her.
I asked again, “No, how are you REALLY doing?”
By adding emphasis with the word “really,” she knew she could break down the walls of “Fine” and tell the truth about how hard first days are with babies. Because they are…when we’re being honest with ourselves and others.
And because I had been honest with her at various times in the past, she felt comfortable telling me that the first day home hadn’t been bliss. She was sore, overwhelmed, and exhausted. And because I’m still 2/3 of of the same list 7 months in with Asher, I could say, “I understand.”
My memory hasn’t gotten fuzzy yet.
Honestly, I don’t think I could ever forget what life with a newborn is like…talk to me when I’m 80.
But here is the beauty of memories and tough times…
God allows us to walk through tough times to help others down the road. Whether it is by telling them where to step to avoid a pothole, or to lend a helping hand to pull them out of a hole when they’ve already stumbled…we must help!
I’ve walked down this newborn road twice now. I know the sleepless nights where exhaustion and hormones play tricks with your thoughts and emotions. I know the frustration of a baby struggling to latch on correctly and the searing pain associated with a bad breastfeeding latch. And while not everyone wants or needs advice, true friends can share how they made it through the struggles without offending.
I broke down the wall of “Fine” a long time ago. I don’t hide behind it anymore. I think it is only when we can live out in the open with people, instead of behind walls, that we can have true community.
Now, I didn’t have to ask my friend for the honest answer. I could’ve took her “Fine” and went home. The problem with that is that she would’ve felt alone and added another brick to the wall of “Fine” for next time.
We have to break down the wall.
If we don’t, we’ll all just be shouting “Fine” over a pile of bricks and crying by ourselves in a pothole.
It is only when we shout “Help!” that we really get help.
It is pretty simple, but yet, we all seem content to sit behind our walls.
It was when my friend finally said that she was feeling overwhelmed, sore, and exhausted that I could say, “Want some help or just a hug?”
I’m so glad she chose help.
It was only then, that I could respond to the Holy Spirit’s urging to run to Walmart for her and get something that I knew would help with the soreness while her husband stayed home with her and the baby.
It was then that I could tell her what little I knew about getting the perfect breastfeeding latch and how her husband could check after I left.
It was only then that I could run home and get the preemie clothes Jonah wore for the first month after he was born because even our smallest newborn outfit was too big.
And when I returned, I got to show her how to tie the Moby Wrap, my saving grace the first few months with Asher.
All very simple things, but all things that encouraged her and equipped her to have a better night and second day home.
I don’t tell you these things to pat myself on the back. Quite the opposite.
I tell you these things because we give a gift to people when we are honest with them and don’t hide behind the wall of “Fine.”
From the phone call the next day, I know that she was grateful for my help. But honestly, I was the one who was blessed! I had a part to play in encouraging her and loving on her. God allowed me to play a role in caring for another sister in Christ that night.
THAT is community.
I’m so glad I got a glimpse of it.
Question: Do you hide behind the wall of “Fine” or do you live out in the open? How have you experience true community?