Ms. Dependence

We’d already toured many of the great places in England, including having tea in quaint London shops and walking along large stone pathways that lined the outer rims of castles I now cannot remember the names of. Ironically, one of the memories I took away from the trip to Great Britain and Ireland in 2005 came from a short conversation with my roommate at a stop in Scotland. Oban, Scotland

We were in Oban, Scotland, a place I do remember. We stayed there for two days (longer than any other part of our trip) and I turned 22 while there. The other reason I remember that trip so well was because the beauty was overwhelming. The city of Oban was exactly how I imagined the whole of Europe. Hilly, misshapen streets, random people walking about all hours of the evening, and places and things built right up to the edge of the water–in this case the very sea.

Earlier that day, I’d jumped at the chance to take a shower before venturing out and was puzzled by the shower nozzle in the bathroom. After a few minutes of searching hopelessly for something that would move the water flow to the shower head, I gave up.

I don’t remember what I said after that, but I do remember what my roommate, a very wise Swiss woman (who speaks five languages at least!) said to me.

“Amber, are you firstborn?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“And unused to asking for help I assume…”

“Yes, that’s right,” my eyes were full of sheepishness.

She promptly showed me how to unscrew something under the faucet which allowed water to come out of the shower head.

And I did get my shower.

I remember that day so clearly–the delight of the resort town and all of its charm…and how mystified I was about that shower. But the wiser Rita knew something that I, at 22, did not.

How many of us today fail to acknowledge we need help, let alone ask for it?

Independence is a value that can get us far, but without a healthy dose of dependence, I think we lose the ability to grow as well.

Asking for help is not something to be ashamed of.

Asking for help is something that requires practice.

Two so important lessons!

11 years later I am still reflecting on that lesson. I think about it every year when Rita wishes me a happy birthday on Facebook. I think about it every time I get in a sticky situation and don’t know what to do. Just ask for help. And practice it all the time.

Call me Ms. Dependence if you want, but I have been on a path now to couple a good amount of dependence with independence in my life since. It may be tough to remember these lessons day, to day, but it is possible!

And you?

How are you learning dependence? How does graceful dependence encourage a brighter you in the ebbs and flows of life where you live?


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