My parents like to tell how three of my earliest words as a child were, do it myself! This is a sweet reflection on my deep-rooted stubborn character, which has been my greatest strength and my greatest limitation throughout life, as many deep-rooted traits can be.
This independent streak has been accepted and applauded through most of my life, especially since I’m living in the United States, where standing on your own two feet and pulling on your own bootstraps are so highly valued.
Except. It’s a fiction.
Sure, it is great to have grit and determination and motivation and resilience, and independent thought is especially rare and cherished. But you know what? We also need help.
Help from family and friends. Help from teachers and colleagues. Help from people miles away or decades past, who have built bridges or written books, or tended the land. Help from the land itself, and its creatures and its spirit.
Finally, I am starting to appreciate the help that has been there all along, lifting me up with kindness and strength and truly stunning generosity, as all the while I have been shouting, do it myself!
Dear friends, dear strangers, dear planet, dear spirit,
thank you for the help.
Some of you will recognize this distinctive illustration as being from the terrific book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy. I am grateful for two different recent gifts of this book, since as you all know, books are one of my favorite forms of help.