Have I Earned the Right to Ask for Help?

In bed at home...for weeks.It’s been a solid week since I went under the knife and emerged with five screws, a metal plate and the inability to put any weight on my left foot. I’ve learned what I can and cannot do and the latter dominates the list. It’s the little things that really vex me, like being unable to walk from one room to another carrying a cup full of coffee, or even a book.

This has forced me to spend 90 percent of my time lying on my back with all of my tools and toys within reach: laptop, cellphone, TV remote, cat, music player. But the big lesson I’ve learned is that it’s ok to ask for help. I can’t do it myself!

I hesitate to ask each time I need something. When asked if I’d like pancakes, I jump up, pick up the crutches and make my way to the kitchen. But there I find all of what I need being laid neatly on a tray, complete with the milk for the coffee, about to be brought in to me. I stutter gratitude, trying again to appreciate these folks who serve me. Am I worthy and do I deserve such service?

I had this conversation with a woman who lives upstairs from my office. She saw me struggling my way down the stairs after buying lunch and asked me, ‘what happened?’ I explained about the injury and told her how hard it was for me to ask people to help me. Is this the same gene, I thought, that keeps me from wanting to ask for directions, or even read the directions that come with things you have to assemble?

But she said something wise, and it felt good. “You’ve earned it, Max, you’ve been a good person and helped many people. You deserve to be waited on for a time. “ Wow. Is this karma bringing me payback? I hope so, and I promise to serve others should someone I love be laid up on their back themselves.