This past year has been a season of growth for me, devoted to learning to ask for help from God and others. I didn’t start the year with this lesson plan, but God, in his infinite wisdom, decided it was something I needed to learn. For example, here, here, here, and here.
Last weekend, I discovered yet another reason why I need to ask others for help, and this time, it finally didn’t have to do with me. Ironically, when you ask others for help, you end up helping them. Why in the world didn’t I realize this before?
I’ll rewind a couple of weeks back to when I wasn’t as far in my recovery process, and I couldn’t carry much weight (my sutures would rip). I was headed on a car trip to see my family, and I’d changed from my winter tires to my summer ones. But the winter ones were taking up all the space in my little Ford Focus. There wasn’t room for my junk stuff that I was hauling up north for the weekend. Dan was working on-call at the hospital and wouldn’t be home for at least another day, and I needed a way to get the mounted tires out of the car.
I stood in the garage, scratching my head, when my neighbor drove up. Sheepishly, I wandered over and asked if he’d mind helping me haul the tires out of the car. I felt like the maiden in distress in the old western movies. He came right over and stacked the tires in the garage. No problem. I felt so guilty, asking him, someone I hardly knew, to do me such a big favor. But, he didn’t seem to mind at all.
Fast forward to last weekend. It was record breaking heat. I was out washing my car, taking an agonizingly long time to do it, since I hadn’t washed it since my surgery, and it was hard to tell what color it was anymore. My neighbor was in his garage tinkering with a car he’s restoring.
He walked over and asked if I’d mind helping him with something. No problem! He wanted me to stand on the back of a hydraulic engine hoist (something I knew a bit about thanks to my dad), while he lifted the motor out of the car (a ’68 Austin Healy). I was keeping it balanced. I joked with him about being as heavy as the motor. It took awhile, but as I stood there, we chatted about his car and his work, and I got to know him a lot better.
I don’t think he’d ever had asked me if I didn’t do the maiden in distress routine several weeks ago. It formed a connection between us. I also owed him one, and I was happy to be in his debt.
Now that we’ve had this neighborly exchange, I feel much better about going downstairs to borrow a power tool or to ask his advice about fixing something (he’s a Mr. Fixit.). I hope that he’ll feel much more open to asking me for help too.