THE SACRAMENT OF PLOP
Today during my walk, I was listening to a podcast interview with one of my favorite authors. The topic of discussion was dealing with death, hardship, catastrophe, loss. And she brought up an intriguing, but eye-opening, concept.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, our family has experienced a lot of loss in the last 5 years. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say, there were severe losses, devastations, disappointments, hurts, among other things. We’ve been in the lowest of low times…at times.
But, we all have, haven’t we? Maybe not all concentrated into the span of 5 years, but we all have dealt with and/or are dealing with some pretty rotten things.
Since I am a woman, I want to speak mainly to women, although I know that men deal with this as well. I just don’t know exactly what goes on in their heads, so I can’t speak to that. As women, though, especially here in America, and especially in the south where I grew up, women are the helpers, the caregivers, the caretakers, the motherers, the comforters, the emotional providers, the huggers, the listeners, the cryers, the understanders. We are taught by example that, when trouble comes into someone’s life, when heartache hits their heart and knocks the breath out of their lungs, we put on our big girl panties, throw on our best running shoes and we get to work. We become the doers, the busy-bees, the cleaners, the errand-runners, the meal-fixers. That’s us. That’s what we do. That’s what our moms did. That’s what our grandmoms did.
But there are two sides to that coin. When trouble comes to US…when heartache hits OUR heart…we…we…what do we do? Now others are putting on their running shoes and getting to work. Others become the doers, the cleaners, the meal-fixers. And it’s for US. It’s for OUR family.
And that’s uncomfortable. We’re not used to that. As American women, we are comfortable with the forward thrust of sucking it up and moving ahead, keeping on going even when disaster has struck. We are fixers. We are peace-makers. We are problem-solvers. So when someone else comes to help us, comes to give to us, comes to minister to us, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Or with them.
This is where “The Sacrament of Plop” comes into play. This was the intriguing idea presented by my favorite author in the podcast, as she talked about us being the ones having casseroles brought to our doors.
Sacrament is defined as “something regarded as possessing a sacred character or mysterious significance.”
Plop is defined as “to drop or fall with full force or direct impact.”
So the “sacrament of plop” is the sacred and mysterious and figurative (sometimes literal) act of sitting down completely, not on the edge of the seat (in case we need to get up quickly), but full force onto the biggest, comfiest couch, legs beneath us, leaning back into the cushions…to sit there and to tear up and to cry and to receive and to let others tend to us and to minister to us.
That is so very hard to do.
I was just discussing this topic with my mom on a recent visit. About how very very difficult it is to receive. To allow others to just love on us when we need it. She said she remembers years ago, after having a major surgery, how people from her church began bringing meals to their house and cards and flowers and wanting to do for them…how uncomfortable and “unnatural” that felt. Because, as she said, she had always been the one doing that for others. And here she was, suddenly on the receiving end, and didn’t feel worthy of it. It didn’t feel right.
I felt the same way when I dealt with cancer and a devastating illness…even when David had his motorcycle accident and people wanted to help with meals or cleaning our house or mowing our land or a myriad of other things. I wasn’t even the one who had been injured…but people wanted to minister and contribute and help my family.
You know, we are not really taught at an early age that it is a beautiful, blessed thing to receive love and comfort from others. We are taught to GIVE love and comfort. We are inadvertently taught that to “receive” help and comfort and assistance, in times of need or otherwise, is “shameful” or “selfish”…that we should be able to handle this and keep going. And we do that…we put on the brave face…we become the strong one…but if we’re honest, we DO need help. So much help. And it’s ok to need help. In fact, it’s vital…necessary…imperative…to need help. And to accept help. Here’s why.
There’s a very familiar verse in the Bible, Acts 20:35, that says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I bet anyone reading this has heard that verse. And I bet you’ve even heard someone talk about this, but I’ll say it again. The verse doesn’t say it’s ONLY a blessing to give, and not a blessing to receive. It is most definitely a blessing to receive…it’s just MORE of a blessing to give.
But, as I learned today, by receiving, you are actually giving. By gladly and openly and humbly receiving the love and help and service of others, you are giving them the gift of giving. Does that make sense? If there were no receivers, there would be no givers. Givers cannot give if the receivers will not receive. When we refuse to accept the love and help and assistance of others, we are actually robbing them of the biggest blessing…the giving blessing.
I just want this to be a reminder for all of us, all of you, who are going through something really crappy, really rough, really downright paralyzing and devastating (and if you’re not going through something now, you will…cuz it happens to us all): RECEIVE! Let others give! Practice the sacrament of plop. Sit down and let others hold you while you cry. Let others listen while you pour out your heart. Let others run errands for you. Let others bring you casseroles and flowers and chocolate. Let others LOVE you! You’ll get your turn again to do the same; don’t worry. But for now, let yourself be abundantly blessed. It’s ok.