Last week something suddenly popped in my knee. The pain was debilitating and frightening. But most troubling for me was feeling out of control – I didn’t know what was wrong or what to do.
I have always done things for myself. When I was a child, my mother was distracted and busy trying to do it all herself – raise three children alone, work full time, go to school, maintain a household. I learned very quickly to not ask for things and to rely on myself.
That self-reliance is a blessing and a curse. I’m proud that I’m capable and resourceful. But, more than any knee injury could, I hobble myself because I do not want to ask for help. I don’t want to be rejected. I don’t want to impose. I don’t want to need people.
I phoned a neighbour and asked if I could borrow a cane from his collection. He promptly brought me a selection of canes and walking sticks to choose from.
I called another neighbour and asked if he was free to take me to the hospital. He was and on the way to the emergency room he even arranged a later date to run errands for me.
The next day, I phoned the office to ask if someone could unlock my laptop and have it waiting for me at the security desk. I said I’d send a cab over to pick it up. The response was “Oh no. We can’t do that. We’ll bring it over. And do you need anything from the pharmacy?” The laptop and Tylenol were delivered within the hour along with best healing wishes from our security team.
And so it went. I soon realized that every time I asked for help, I got it – and more!
We all like to feel needed and useful. People want to help. But sometimes we need to be helped. Admitting when you need to ask for help and receiving it gracefully is just as important as giving help; helper and helpee need each other.
p.s. I had a Baker’s cyst rupture in my knee. It’s healing nicely and I’m up and walking around again.