The other day as I was driving into St. Louis, I observed a man stalled along the highway. His image haunted me. Something about his dilemma reminded me of myself.
He had gone too far on limited resources. His car could go no further. Carrying a gas can, he had a choice to make. He could stand and wait for assistance, but that would require admitting he had made a mistake. And if someone offered to drive him to the next exit and a gas station, he would then need a ride back in the opposite direction to his car–additional help. Instead, he walked against traffic to single handedly find a gas station, avoiding asking for help.
Why is asking for help so difficult?
It requires giving up our need to control events. It requires facing our fears of feeling shame or being judged for actions that may have created a need-based situation.
When I saw him, I reflected on the times that I opted to not ask for help and emotionally and physically suffered because of it.
What this (now) better version of myself has learned to ask is, “If this were happening to a friend, and not me, what would I want my friend to do?”
The answer is always, “Ask for help.”
It can be an occasion for grace to enter our own hearts and remind us that we all have needs and we all have gifts to offer. Maybe the person we ask for help may be in need of a bit of lifting up themselves. And we may end up assisting each other in a way that was unanticipated.