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Monday, September 2, 2013

On Being Needed

This weekend my wife built a fence.

A colleague at work was in need of a more secure yard for her dog, and Barbara volunteered to help her. She gave her labor, and a roll of  chain link fencing we had that was surplus to our needs.

My contribution to the project was rolling up the fencing material and putting it in the car. I also hunted down a few tools, and prepared a lunch.

The fencing material alone weighed over a hundred pounds, and she and her friend had to set posts, and wire the fence up.

It's not that I'm lazy - well, I am, but not that lazy. But my help wasn't needed, and wasn't wanted, because I am still pretty sick and tire quickly.

Still, it was a strange feeling. I have a PhD in structural engineering, and have done a lot of construction, from fence-setting to large-scale concrete work. I used to be the go-to guy for this sort of thing.

I watched her drive off with mixed feelings. And I watched the cell phone, wondering if she'd need me after all.


And that is a good thing. Barbara increased her confidence level another notch. She gauged that she could do the work on her own, and she was right.

Have you ever tackled a project on your own, where you think maybe you'd need help but still wanted to try it? How did it go?


  1. Oh heck, you TOO were needed!! You were the one that sent her off, who cheered her on and who smiled at the victory stories she told at the end of it all.
    Don't for one second think you weren't needed. She could do all that work because she knew you were there to catch her.

    1. I hadn't thought of that - thanks, Jennifer!

  2. Andrew - I'm with Jennifer.

    Need is not defined in linear terms, you know. My Dad passed away 6 years ago, and before that, my parents were out of the country on mission work for much of my adult life. But I could list a million times (if I could count that high!) where I've asked myself, "What would Dad do in this situation?" With both hands tied behind his back and one foot in a cast (he'd figure out how to use the rope and the plaster, I'm sure), my Dad could have challenged MacGyver to speed gadget production and won, hands down. I mean, hands tied. But have I ever stopped needing him? Nope. He raised me to be courageous, to trust my instincts, to be quick on my feet, to think objectively and analytically even while my heart broke or my pain threatened to overwhelm me. He's part of what makes me the way I am today.

    On a twist of that, my husband has had a tough role to live up to, and for a long time, he struggled with my "obvious" lack of need for anyone, especially him. But his support, his love, his encouragement to be the best me I can be, his 100% belief in the woman he chooses to cover, THAT'S what I need from him. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.

    And I have every confidence that Barbara feels the same way about you.

    Bless you!


    1. Beautifully said, Becky.

      So often we are needed on a much more profound level than we 'want' to be needed.

      It can be hard to find. And it can be scary.