Are you a pusher or a pushee?
My husband’s family has a “cottage” on Lake Erie with a fabulous beach.
One thing that has been a “tradition” for years is that we take a large raft and someone pushes it down to the pier or down to the rocks. Most people ride on the raft – getting off occasionally to cool off, find rocks, lucky stones, or sea glass. Another person (sometimes 2) pushes the raft there and back. The pushers obviously get a little exercise, especially on the trip that is counter-current. Most of the time the raft remains stationary by the beach, anchored there with a brick or an anchor. The family plays on it and enjoys the water. But the trips down/up the beach on the raft are special times.
It is a lazy time to travel up or down the beach. The people on the raft rest in the sun. They visit with each other and visit with the pushers. The pushers, as viewed from afar, would appear to just be hanging on the raft as well, but under the surface, their feet are moving constantly causing that raft to move to the destination.
I have rarely been a pushee… almost always choosing to be a pusher. For a couple reasons: 1. I tend to get motion sick easily and laying on a moving raft in waves would most likely result in that. 2. I am not good at casual conversation. 3. I like to keep busy. (You know… the knitting while I watch TV, swimmeet, band concert…)
My brother-in-law, Mike was ALWAYS a pusher. I believe he was the one that started the raft transport idea. His reason for being a pusher were probably different than mine. He liked to go to those places. He wanted his family to go too and he wanted to take care of them and bring them along in a fun and relaxing way. Mike was like that. Mike died suddenly last week, at a much too young age, of a heart attack. What does that mean for the pushees and pushers? It means that nothing will be the same… Mike is not there working away under the surface to take care of his family and take them someplace fun.
Will I still be a pusher… sure… if the situation calls for it. Will someone else step up and help? Probably.
But doesn’t being a pusher and pushee sound kinda like the whole Mary and Martha story?
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42
I know that I am definitely more of a Martha. I prefer to be doing, serving, fixing, helping, preparing, knitting, serving, cooking, pushing…. than just sitting and visiting. I’m sure this is mainly because I am not comfortable with the visiting part and I am confident in my other skills. I am definitely an introvert and people skills are not part of my skill set.
I know that Mikey was a nice balance of both. He was the first one to help out if you needed help. However, he also knew how to just sit and visit. I know for me, the grief of his loss, is more about his being able to “read” people and interact with them. He was a buffer for me… he was an “outlaw” with me at these family gatherings. Sometimes when things got all “family” he and I would just sit and visit while the rest of them did the family things they needed/wanted to do. I knew that he could be counted on to talk to me and ask me how I was and how things were going and to actually listen and care. Everyone talked today at the funeral about his great wit and personality, his Christian faith and love of family. His ability to understand people and what they needed (whether they knew it or not) was a trait that I personally appreciated. I will greatly miss him at all the future family gatherings because I will now be, in a sense, alone as the “outlaw.”
I’m sure that that first raft trip over Labor Day weekend, will be a hard one. There might be tears, hopefully there will be laughter. Will I push? Most likely. Can I change and be more like a Mary? Just sitting and visiting and working on relationships? I doubt that I will… that is not one of my personality traits… but I guess I will have to try or feel more ostracized than I already do without Mike there as a buffer.
What will Mike be doing? Oh you know… hanging with Jesus listening to his stories… getting his “Mary” on. 🙂