This will be a short post because during my week retreat, the projects have piled up! A recent experience gave me an idea for this post. At lunch I was with someone who was struggling to open her ice cream bar. She pulled and pulled on the paper and even used her napkin to get a better grasp. I stretched out my strong “piano hands” to help, but she wanted to do it herself. Eventually she was successful. Why do we often refuse help? I too am guilty of this. I say things like, “No, thank you” and “I can carry it myself.” (And then sometimes I suffer the consequences!) Our stubbornness in doing things by ourselves could be because we are Americans, known for independence. I can think of two cases where people were in dire straits but either too proud or too ashamed to ask for help. So they were miserable.
Jesus was not afraid to ask for help. He enlisted twelve apostles and seventy disciples to carry on his ministry. He asked a woman—a Samaritan at that—for a drink of water and the sinner Zacchaeus for a meal. Neither did Jesus refuse help when it was offered. He let the woman anoint him for burial and in the end was buried in a borrowed tomb.
Doing a good deed for someone makes us feel good. Being rebuffed might make us think twice before we offer to assist people in the future. When our acts of charity are thwarted, I hope we get the heavenly points anyway. Yes, performing acts of charity is good, but so is accepting someone’s charity. In fact, letting someone help you is a form of charity.
When have you appreciated being helped? When have you not asked for help and regretted it?