“From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyzes us — it’s what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one. It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.”
~ Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
My father, God rest his soul, was a harsh man. He was a stern disciplinarian — all four of his boys knew his belt or the willow branches from the back yard — as well as a demanding taskmaster. He did not demand what he would not do himself, though. He was a hard worker, repairing all of his equipment (cars, lawnmower, tractor, snow blower), and teaching us to do the same.
As he taught us to work on machines, he would tell us over and over again that if we needed something done, we should do it ourselves. There were very few times that I can remember a repairman or serviceman coming to our home. Those would only be called if something was broken, dad was too busy to fix it in a timely manner, and mom needed it fixed right away.
Dad implied that there was something inherently wrong in asking for help. It was signaling that we were weak and could not take care of ourselves. Personally, I attributed all of that to the fact that my dad grew up in the depression and was the son of a single parent. His father left the family when he was very young and he was forced to “grow up” quicker and take care of his mother.
For anyone reading this reflection, let me make myself completely clear: there is no shame in asking for help, there is no harm in asking for help, there is no admission of weakness in asking for help. If you ask for help it is because you need it. Simple as that. And asking for help gives someone the opportunity to do a work of charity for another; so, everybody benefits.
We should not be ashamed to ask for help. What might be lacking in us is in abundance in another. Just as well, we should not be reluctant to help another because what might be lacking in the other might be a gift that has been given to us by a God who gifts us differently so that we can contribute to the welfare of all.
FAITH ACTION: Do you need help but are afraid to ask someone for fear of what they might think of you? Ask and let them come to your aid.