Alright, I’ll admit it…I’m one of those people. You know, the ones who write consistently in crazy bursts of inspiration, then slack off for a loooooooooooong time? (see: publication date of previous post written by me…circa June 2014).
Between dreams coming true and headaches and siblings and jumping through hoops, blogging ranked quite low on the priority list this past year. Now that summer is here (joy of joys!) I feel like I’m ready to try and be a little more consistent. Hopefully you can count on posts about once a month now.
That said, I will start on what I actually want to talk about.
I used to hate the differences caused by CFIDS. I hated that I couldn’t be like everyone else, that I couldn’t just be a normal girl going to school, or a normal girl going to hang out with a few friends. I didn’t want to be the girl with a note excusing her from needing P.E. credit in high school. I didn’t want to be the sister that got pushed around in a wheelchair during family outings. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to bury the differences so deep that I could forget they ever existed. In fact, sometimes I even went so far as to defy them. I wouldn’t speak up if an activity was something I couldn’t do–then, before I knew it, I’d be out for a week. I wouldn’t stay home if there was a bug going around. I’d catch it and have to stay home for two weeks. You get the idea.
I’d read that scripture in Matthew before, “Ask, and ye shall receive, knock, and it shall be opened unto you…” I always added a subconscious modifier, though. “If you want something, ask, and ye shall receive…” The problem was, I didn’t want something. I didn’t want to have to have exceptions and accommodations. I didn’t want to be the person who needed help.
But the scripture doesn’t have a modifier, does it? I quickly came to recognize that whether I wanted it or not, I needed help. I wasn’t going to be able to get through school or day-to-day life without it.
I wrestled with myself. I don’t want to be a bother, I thought. Surely it would be more convenient for everyone if I stayed silent. I felt like I would be a burden on others if I asked for anything more than what “normal” people had–or that they would think I was lazy or attention-seeking.
So, I left the asking to others. My parents, friends, leaders. They asked for help for me, and served me without saying a word.
And I felt awfully, terribly guilty. I was ashamed that I needed help. I was the strong one, the go-getter, the all-A student who took the initiative. I shouldn’t need help! I could do great things on my own.
Except I couldn’t. No matter how much I pushed away the fact, I needed help. I finally started learning my lesson when I had a particularly nasty relapse and was stuck in bed watching British dramas and finding shapes in the texture of the ceiling. I realized how lucky I was., how much God had blessed me. There I was, stuck, unable to do anything without help–but I had people to help me. People who loved and cared me.
I reflected on the times I’d helped my family members when they needed it. I didn’t do it because I had to, or even because I wanted to…I did it because I loved them.
Suddenly, life took on a whole new perspective. I saw that in refusing to ask, I wasn’t being noble or less burdensome. I was depriving the people who loved me of the opportunity to serve. As one of my favorite quotations says,
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted, and behold, service was joy.” (Rabindranath Tagore) In short, because of my pride, I kept them from experiencing joy!
The revelation was amazing to me. What if everyone were stubborn and prideful like I had been and wouldn’t ask for help? It would be absolutely miserable. Not only would people fail to have their needs met, they would not have the fulfillment and joy that only comes from serving their fellow man.
I made a goal right then. I was going to do as Jesus taught in Matthew. I would swallow my awful pride and just ask!
It was incredible! Once I started asking for the help I needed, most people loved helping me. Asking became easier each time I did it. Amazed, I saw the my own life and the lives of those around me become happier.
I’m sometimes forgetful, and I still am stubborn and don’t ask on occasion. But I try to remember that the people who love me really do love me, and that it is an act of tremendous courage to just ask.