Posted by: David Weimer | March 16, 2010

France, or bust

In true blog-spirit, I’m posting this meditation on a theme.  My wife and I are hoping to go to France for the month of June.  She hasn’t seen her mother, brother, sister, nephew, nieces and grandmother for eight years—since we left our home in Ramonville Saint Agne near Toulouse.  My sons, now six and nine, don’t speak French and don’t know their mother’s family.  We returned to the U.S. with the intention of getting back, ‘every few years or so.’  This hasn’t happened.  It’s terribly expensive and major car repairs and other emergencies take our money away each year.

So this year I’m saying:

Check out my wife’s blog and look at the prints of her paintings.  Buy one if you can.  You’ll help us.  Here is Andrée’s blog:

Q: What good are friends and family if you can’t count on them when you need them?

A couple of days ago I was talking to my mom who lives in Tennessee with my sister.  She gently implied that I should ‘soft pedal’ my urgent request for friends and family to help us get to France by buying a print of one of my artist wife’s paintings.

I said, “If you can’t yell “Help!” to your family and friends, what the…!”

I’d been under the influence of a heavy basic assumption:  That simply because we know someone or are related to them, we will want to help them when they say they need it.  And then I’m shocked and dismayed when people I know and who I am related to seem to be immune to this ‘truism.’

A:  It’s easy and automatic to condemn someone for not doing what you want. What about being on the receiving end of a request for help?  Maybe it’s not as simple as I think.  Maybe it is as simple, but different.  I’ve had the recent suspicion that there is a reason for so many people to act so contrary to my expectations.  Maybe I would be just like them.  I suspect this.  So whenever I happen to be on the subject I add, “I hope that when you need help from me, I would step forward—I hope I would.”

My request for assistance from family and friends and acquaintances seems easy to my mind.  But so can asking a difficult question—seem easier for the asker.  People are living in each of their island-like existences, interacting mostly with those immediately around them on their patch of ground in this vast sea.  I say I would “do the same for others.”  But what if their form of need was something else?  What if they wanted me to take care of infants or to cook meals instead of things that come naturally to me like cutting wood or repairing a leaking water line?  I hope I would do my best.  I’m not so sure.  But I hope.

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