I don't like being helped.
No, that sounds odd. Sometimes I need help and it's good to be helped but other times I would rather just potter along on my own. Maybe it's because I think the other person won't the job properly or, more often, I don't like the pressure and the feeling of being in debt it puts on me. Not that the other person is necessarily expecting any payback; in fact it's unlikely the thought has even crossed their mind.
It's just me. I'm weird.
Anyway, this afternoon after women's study group at Zac's I set to doing some gardening in the house next door to Zac's. Let me explain.
It's actually the house on the corner across the lane from Zac's. It's empty and has been for some time, the garden is overgrown and a lot of rubbish has accumulated in it, much of which I suspect originated from some of our friends. Bottles and cans especially. I've wanted to get something done about it for some time and I even asked the local police officer whether it was okay to clear a garden belonging to someone else. (Strictly speaking not really.)
Then on Tuesday when I arrived at Zac's I found one of the men, who briefly squatted officially there i.e. he had permission from the owner, in the garden filling bags with rubbish. He was sort of volunteering; I couldn't quite work out if he'd been asked to or what.
Which is what led me to take the shears, rake and gardening gloves with me to bible study today. And I was busy cutting down ivy, raking up leaves and generally doing my best when I spotted a young man wandering into Zac's. I went and told him it wasn't open and when he saw what I was doing he asked if he could help.
'Um, not really,' I said, although it was painfully obvious I needed help.
'Go on, what can I do?' he said.
'Well, okay, you could rake that up while I try and find some bags if you like.'
And so we spent the next hour working side by side in the garden. He talked about his life as he worked and got rid of a lot of the bushes that I couldn't shift. He must have thought I'd been employed by the owners because he was amazed when he asked and I said, no, I was just doing it because Zac's regulars were probably responsible for a lot of it and I hoped that if the garden were cleared they might not be so quick to toss rubbish in there again.
'Seriously?' he said, disbelievingly.
I think it was beneficial for him to feel he was doing something useful, something that took up a bit of the long day before he went to the pub again.
And a couple of the locals commented how much better it looked. It can't be easy for them having Zac's in their street because the people Zac's exists for are amongst the most vulnerable and least welcomed individuals you could find. Sometimes the police have to be called; other times it's just noisy and there's drinking outside. So anything that gives Zac's a better image has to be good.
And as for me, I discovered letting someone help me wasn't that bad after all. God is gentle and uses the most unexpected people to teach us.