One Word: Avail

by tjbeitelman

I’ve been thinking about the word “avail” a lot lately. Mostly because I don’t always avail myself of things that will help me, even if they’re cheap/free and readily available. Even if I really love them.

I’m not sure why I don’t avail myself of these things.

Maybe it’s because I don’t think I should have to avail myself of things, especially if they’re cheap/free and readily available. (Maybe especially² if I love them, if you believe my therapist. But I digress…) Perhaps it’s because these things are like alms, and I believe I should be giving (not receiving) alms. If I need alms, it means I’m poor. Being poor scares me. If I need something then I’m, well, needy. I should be stronger than that. Or else I don’t really need this something, so I think I’m taking an undue advantage. Someone else needs it more. And, of course, sometimes I owe someone something — my time, my effort, my presence — so “availing myself” becomes a euphemism for stealing from them.

But availing myself of something that truly helps me is really the exact opposite of taking advantage of it. It’s not stealing, either; it only makes me more available. And if it is like alms — and it really is — receiving something, with grace and love, is one of the hardest things we humans have to learn. In fact, receiving alms with grace and love is its own kind of alms. (Yin-yang! Ouriboros!)

With all of that in mind, here’s a list: Read the rest of this entry »