Too much excitement just might kill me!
Last week, I was taking in the groceries with Monkey in the ring sling as usual (although it’s getting bloody awkward these days! What do you do with your kid when getting shopping out of the car?), and when I went back for the second trip, there were two women with name badges standing in my driveway.
They were religious people of some sort, I forget exactly what – Seventh Day Adventists or Jehovah’s Witnesses or something. It’s irrelevant.
What is relevant is that they offered to help bring in my groceries. Which I found weird.
They introduced themselves as missionaries, and instead of taking my polite hints to leave, explained that this means that they have a lot of stories to share about Christmas and the word of God, but that it also means that they want to do service. Such as bringing in my groceries.
They tried a guilt tactic which I thought was a bit rough – “I’m sure you would agree that family is the most important thing… Well we have a way for families to be together forever”. Nice. But they said they would bring in my groceries without talking about God.
When I continued to decline, they asked if I knew of anyone who would be interested in their message or needed a hand around the house (I don’t).
It felt very weird and uncomfortable for these strangers to be offering to help with something so mundane. I joked with Hubs afterwards that I should have invited them in to vacuum the floor and paint the ceiling.
And yet, one of the nicest things that has stuck with me from Monkey’s time in hospital is an offer of help from a compete stranger. Someone anonymously left a card from ‘Dial an Elf’ in our room shortly after we were admitted to the oncology ward, with a phone number to call if we needed help shopping or weeding or cooking or anything else. I’ve kept that card, because it meant so much to me. We were lucky to have heaps of support from our family, so we never did dial an elf, but the gesture was very much appreciated.
So why is that different? Is it the religious overtones that I find discomforting? I’m not sure it is, because if a stranger showed up and just offered to help, that would be weird too.
Maybe it’s the invasion of my personal space by them coming to the house uninvited. Once when Monkey was being admitted for treatment I had him in the sling and a big suitcase and pillows, walking to the hospital, and a lady on her way to work offered to help me out – she wheeled the suitcase all the way in to the hospital for me. I’ve accepted or even asked for help from people to get big or bulky items into the car when I’m Monkey-wrangling.
Also, when I offer to help someone else, I feel a bit disappointed if they decline. But I would never go and knock on a stranger’s door to make such an offer.
Do you think my missionaries were disappointed not to be able to carry my groceries? Should I have said yes? What would you have done?