Sunday, May 15, 2011

An Unusual Gift

The simple act of asking for help, reaching out to another human whether boldly, casually, with humility, in fear or even desperation becomes a gracious gift.  A gift of opportunity.  Giving someone the opportunity to be generous; to give exactly what is needed, to the fullest and with an open heart.  So often we can feel lost, disheartened, or just overwhelmed for the moment.  At those times, even when we see a friendly face or hear a friendly voice, we fold in, we turn our heads, we walk away.....alone.  No wonder God tells us that pride is a sin.  It is one of the greatest powers that separates us from each other, that keeps us walking alone, that keeps us from giving, that keeps us from receiving.

Being too proud to connect with others is more of an obstacle to personal growth than being consumed by substance abuse.  Perhaps a debatable statement, but consider having a mind unclouded by drugs or alcohol, a mind that is still unwilling to extend a request for aid when needed,  a mind that is held back not by addiction, but by itself.  To make matters worse, this is the kind of pride that is glorified and admired.  Those who refuse to ask for or accept help, no matter how badly they need it, are lifted to lofty heights for their incredible inner strength.  When, in fact, it takes far more inner strength to swallow pride and humble oneself.  Surviving trying times without aid, without true human connection only further ingrains the pride that keeps us isolated from each other and stunts our personal growth. 

One of the most humbling forms of aid to have to swallow your pride and ask for is financial aid.  Recently I have had to undergo a transformation that started with a very proud denial of any need, and finally evolved into tucking tail, bowing head in submission, and asking for exactly the amount of help needed.  The greater amount needed directly coincides with the amount of pride needed to swallow.  The resulting personal growth may be difficult to see at first, but it has occured.  My release of pride, humbling myself, and even enduring a little humiliation has greatly bettered the lives of loved ones.  I have grown to understand that true inner strength is acheived by true hardship, the hardship of pleading for help, not for yourself, but for those in your care.  The humble admition that you as a parent cannot provide everything your child needs  requires you to relenquish an exponential amount of pride.  I have grown to understand that asking a grandparent for help is one of the greatest gifts I can give.  So they are able to give exactly what is needed, and never wonder or worry.  So their grandchildren can grow to be their legacy.  My grandparents did this for me, and now my children's grandparents can feel the deep satisfaction of ensuring the future of fresh, young souls; of opening up an entire world of possibility and opportunity.  Hopefully the opportunity to just ask and give an unusual gift.