Inconvenient? Well that’s the plan.
It’s not easy asking for favours that we know are unappealing. Sometimes it might be that we don’t want to owe people? But more often than not, I think there’s something of pride in it; we don’t want someone thinking: ‘Oh, Megan is making my day so much more difficult. Grrr to her.’ But unless we challenge each other with opportunities to do the inconvenient, we will never afford each other the opportunity to grow in selflessness. And we all need help with that.
We need to start asking each other to do us all kinds of favours, from the boring to the time-consuming to the messy. Let’s just ask for help or what we need, realising that developing a culture of give-and-take requires we allow others to be the givers sometimes, and not worry so much about whether or not they will find it a nuisance or a stretch.
I’ve twice had friends – friends – phone me to ask for a lift to the airport and they have begun with the phrase: “Can I ask you a huge favour…?” What’s so huge about that? Zippo. Can I have one of your kidneys? Yes, that’s a huge favour. But a ride in my car is a blip on the radar, or a phantom blip. Our words are important – we need to speak in ways that allow us all to ask one another favours without making things bigger than what they are.
Many of us, myself included, hang back from asking favours, especially the biggies, from anyone outside our families (the people who are supposed or expected to do us favours). I don’t think it’s meant to be like this. We need to get into each other’s business in a way that our issues impact one another’s resources and schedules. By asking for favours – proper, big favours – we not only help break down the social barriers that keep us from truly ‘taking on’ people outside our families (which is important if community is to have real value and also if the lonely are to be put in families), but we may also be giving others the opportunity to work through their selfish attitudes over a few hours or days and so come out the other side realising that they were given the chance to do something for someone else, which is in truth a blessing on their own lives.