Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Gift of Asking for Help

Nine weeks doesn’t sound so long, but when you are unable to drive for nine weeks, it can feel like an eternity. This was where I found myself after Labor Day weekend. A fall on my bicycle yielded a broken shoulder that took me from behind the steering wheel of my car to the passenger seat of others’ cars.

At first, the whole situation was disorienting. Between the pain and dependence on others for things other than driving, every single thing felt like a major effort, including sleep. As I figured out what I was able to do for myself, I settled into the new normal of healing.

It isn’t always easy for me to ask others for help. I know that about myself, and I admire friends who can come out and ask for what they need. Over the nine weeks I got a lot of practice in asking for help, and like working a tight muscle, it got easier over time. I anticipated that the time of being less mobile would offer opportunities for spiritual growth. Finding ease in asking for what I needed was a fruit of my time not behind the wheel.

What I know is that people want to help, and are happy to be asked. One friend actually thanked me for asking her! No one grudgingly said yes. I never felt tension, as if someone was driving me out of obligation. On the contrary, the times in cars of various friends was an opportunity to know them better, to have conversations we might not otherwise have.

There are those who say that no one will do for us what a spouse or close family member will do. This sells short the goodness of others, the willingness of others to help. What I know, after nine weeks of depending on others, is that such a view doesn’t reflect my reality. People are hard-wired to want to help others. Generosity is a natural human trait. It is a gift to be asked to help another, because it lets us flex our generosity muscle, and specific requests for help allow us to do something for another that we know they will appreciate.

Asking for help is a gift, just as much as receiving help. May you recognize this, especially if you are reluctant to ask for help when you need it.