Nicole and I were working out together one day and for some reason, she brought up a self-help, faith-related book we had both read. The thesis, basically, is how men are born with wild hearts, which should be admired, not restrained, by women.
"What did you learn from that book?" she asked as I attempted arm curls with weights too heavy.
"That every woman wants to be rescued." I took the opportunity to rest. I can’t talk and work out, too.
"That is not what that book said," she retorted.
I put my now-unencumbered hands on my hips. "Yes, it is. Every woman wants to be rescued." I smiled. "That would be me."
She rolled her eyes. "That is not you. You’re the last who wants to rescued. Where do you think I got it?"
Seeing a chance to interrupt the endlessly cruel work-out that Nicole puts me through, I expounded more. "That is exactly what it said — women want to be rescued; men, who have warrior hearts, want to be the rescuers." I started giving examples. Later, over the next couple of days, I thought about that a lot. Here is my conclusion:
Who — man or woman — wouldn’t want to be rescued? Life is hard. Who of us would turn down the chance to have life easier? Who would put a foot down and say, "No! Don’t do something for me that takes worry away! That problem is mine! All mine!" Who, in their ever-loving right mind, would do that?
OK, I have said those words. It’s true. I have had others offer help and I said, "No, it’s my problem, my responsibility. I have to handle it." But that’s not because I didn’t want the help. It’s because I realize that I’m a grown-up and I can’t hide behind mama’s apron anymore. I have also learned it’s easier to depend on myself than on someone else. Other people get tied up in their own problems, so they have trouble getting to my problems.
One of my treasured friends was reflecting on her life. Her children and grandchildren are grown now. She, of all the people I’ve known, has had the loveliest life. A solid, happy marriage, a husband who has provided well and protected her from as many troubles as possible, and she has traveled the world. As the children were growing up, she had a full-time housekeeper who took care of the children and the cleaning.
As I listened, I couldn’t resist. "You have had the best life of anyone I know. You’ve lived a dream life." She smiled and nodded. She has such a great sense of humor that I knew I could tease her without offending her. "But let me ask you something — what exactly have you done with your life?"
She took no offense. She settled back comfortably in her chair, pressed her fingertips together and smiled angelically. "Well," she began, her light-colored eyes twinkling merrily. "I am a nationally-accredited flower show judge."
Her husband rolled his eyes comically. I doubled-over laughing. She continued, "It takes a lot of work and it’s the highest honor in the garden club world."
I don’t want any letters from feminists who protest mightily, unless you’re writing after you have just walked in at midnight and found a water heater that has sprung a leak and emptied its entire load throughout your house or your lawn mower broke in the middle of knee-high grass. I hate to call anyone a liar but…
However, I realize that my independence, forced or not, has made me who I am. Tink, bless his heart, goes above and beyond to make my life easier and so often, I protest. I don’t want to be a burden.
I guess I talk a better game than I play it. But give me time. I think I can get used to "easier."
Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of the forthcoming "There’s A Better Day A-Comin’." Visit www.rondarich.com to sign up for her newsletter.