I asked her how I could help her through my writing.
She answered, briefly. Then she said, “What about you. How can I help?”
I sat very still. It was mostly a sense of emotional paralysis. I realized that I didn’t know how to answer that question. And I didn’t like the feeling.
For many of us, it is easier to offer help than receive it. Unless, of course, our world is collapsing. Then we will consider, briefly, accepting the help of other. But short of a death in the family, job loss, or fire, we aren’t sure what kinds of things we can let other people help us with.
It could be a form of pride, not wanting to be beholden to others. It could be shame, the fear that others will discover that we aren’t as competent as we pretend and then they won’t trust us.
For at least some of us, we are so focused on loving one another, as Jesus commanded, that we are unwilling to consider that it may include being loved by one another.
I know. We think it’s about learning styles, that we best understand things by reading about them rather than asking for instruction. Or we were ridiculed once for asking foolish questions so we never again risk asking anything.
But what if asking for help is okay? What if it is admitting that we are human? What if we really do need comrades and community and caring for each other? What if every time we refused to ask for help, we were saying. “I’m better than you because I can give help and not need it”?
Doesn’t that sound arrogant?
I must confess, it does to me.
So with your help, I’ll start working on being more open to help. Will you?
First published in 2014.