I don’t know why or when I started this,, but somewhere along the spring days into summer, I started greeting Muffy with the question, “What are your needs?” Depending on the time of day or weather conditions or my own jolly (or not) attitude, my question is the same and I usually know what his needs are–food, being pet, or wanting inside. He sits at the back patio steps and when you walk past, he glances at the door knob, as if hoping it magically opens the door when we do not follow through with his requests of a cute “meow” gesture. Muffy is easy to lip-read.
At first, the question was just a funny randomness my family listened to me say, probably more times than their wanting in a day. They still hear, “Good grief,” or an occasional, “Epic fail!” My new favorite is quite studious, “Ludicrous!” Then in utter frustration, I laugh. Muffy’s question is now somewhat a joke on me. Not that we say it as a joke, but it makes the frustrating moments more at ease with a smile, if even just for the moment. Where Muffy’s needs are obvious, mine are not–and I still have a hard time communicating them.
“Thus disease is helping me be assertive,” I tell Marcia in our conversation this morning. I said it in a victory chant fashion, and when I looked across the table, Marcia’s facial expression said it all: no. I quickly added, “I am learning.” That sounded more accurate. I am not an assertive person; it conflicts with my personality. Even trying my hardest, I rank high in the daily needs. As my head reads the not-yet-asked-for-help needs list, I stand with hand clenched to the walker and do a “I hate being so needy!” dance…just bopping up and down as if doing PT exercises. Becoming dependent is where Satan is using my personality against me as I learn to let go of myself. I don’t like being assertive, because I don’t want to be bossy or offend. I like to help, not feel like a needy burden. Guilt is my number one enemy in this disease.
As I learn to speak my needs, I find myself in thoughts of how I can meet the needs for others. “Meeting needs” is like the phrase, “having a job.” I think in physical, tangible terms…probably because those are my needs. When I had to end my working days at Target, I struggled with not having “a job.” My personality and self-conscience was afraid of what other people would think– I didn’t want to just be one of those “unemployed, twenty-something-aged kid” loving at home. I see now the pride in that and I have been completely humbled in living at home; the sacrifices made by my family to met my needs can be more than a job for them. Yet they never complain…even when it is not the best of situations.
I believe God made us needy. We need each other and most importantly, we need Him. God desires for me to be close to Him, telling Him my needs and He listens–yet, even as I speak, I must be still and listen. God always meets my needs, even if I don’t ask or often in better ways than I would have imagined; a parallel…I see this in how my physical needs are met through others. As I verbally share my needs, I must work harder at being still–“listening” with my heart to respond–in hopes that God can somehow meet an unseen need in their life through me, just being me.
Salt and Light by Amy Grant and Wes King
We all need a little salt, need a little light
Need a hopeful word, shining bright–
We can be a little salt, be a little light
In this darkened world,
We can shine, oh oh, shine so bright
Shine, oh oh, just like the starlight,
Shine, oh oh, shine
Shine, oh oh, shine…the light.