June 26, 2020

My Ask For Help

When I was pregnant with my youngest, I flew back and forth to the east coast several times because my mother was dying. At the same time, my husband was travelling for work, I was working for the UW, as well as caring for a two-year-old, and running a household. Guess what? I was exhausted. And until I was 7½ months pregnant, I was pretty good about going out to mow the lawn. Finally, I realized that maybe waddling behind the lawn mower was a bad idea. So I gathered up the courage and asked a neighbor to do it for me. And surprise! She did not mind at all.

So now you’d think it would be easy for me to ask for help. Nope. This had taught me that it was o.k. to ask for help for a temporary need and only if it was for something that I could exactly replicate. “I have the flu, if you are going out anyway, can you pick up some milk for me? I can do the same for you next week.” Or, “we need to be in three places at once and we only have one car, can you drop my child off at daycare, just this one time? We can get your kid the next two times even though we still only have one car and need to go in different directions.”

I am now older and wiser. As Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing you are doing is not right; you will surely wear yourself out, and these people as well. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone” (Exodus 18:17-18). Not that I am comparing myself to Moses, but I realize that I can’t possibly do everything for everyone at all times, and that is alright.

It is okay that we can’t do it all. Here in our community, there are many organizations like JSS that can provide support. And people want to help. Some you know. Some you don’t. But remember, it makes us feel good to help.

So now I have a personal ask of you. Many of you know that I am hearing impaired. I don’t keep it hidden, but I read lips really well, so it isn’t obvious. With COVID-19, everyone is now wearing masks and their mouths are covered. I realized that I want people around me to take off their masks so that I can see what they are saying. I suspect that many of our clients are in the exact same position. We are ready to put our own health at risk so we can hear. Let’s face it, (pun intended), it isn’t a good idea. So I would like masks with clear plastic for all thirteen team members at JSS. I was going to sew them myself. But I finally realized, I just can’t. So I am making an ask. If you would consider making these, we would be grateful. You can find a pattern at www.hsdc.org/accessible-deaf-friendly-face-mask/. If you need us to provide the material and drop it off, we would be glad to do so.

Remember, JSS is here to provide support to you. Please reach out at office@jssmadison.org or call our main number at (608) 442-4081.

Shabbat shalom,

Dawn Berney, Executive Director