Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lessons Learned During Recovery 2

I am not going to write about how I'm such a humble person. Only Moses could get away with that. Beside the fact that I'm nowhere near being in Moses' league, I also know how much I struggle with pride. I'm probably like most red-blooded American men in that regard. I like being the one to give help, but I'm fine doing things without it, thank you very much. I also feel uncomfortable with what I see as "putting people out."

Hernia surgery changed that. When I awakened back in the room, I was a pretty helpless individual. When I had to get up to go to the restroom, I needed help to sit up. I also could not stand or walk without Jan holding one of my arms to steady me. As we left the next day, I needed assistance to get into, and out of the truck.

That first week of recovery was on of almost total dependence on others. Someone else went outside to get the paper. Someone else fed the dog. Someone else took care of things that I normally take care of. Along with that, I required help doing such simple tasks as washing and drying my feet, and putting on socks. Believe me, for someone who likes to be able to do it myself, it was hard, even though I knew that I needed that help.

The culmination came when we went to our church's Sunday gathering. As we shuffled into the room, one of the young men and his girlfriend were asked to give up their spots on the couch for me. Not by me, you understand. Remember, I'm too proud to ask anyone to do that. :) While I appreciate their willingness to let me sit there, I felt bad about it. I went back to work full day on Tuesday (forgetting the lesson about patience), and began to drag a chair to my morning duty spot. The teacher who does that duty with me asked if he could get that for me. I seriously thought about telling him that I was good, that I could get it. But I didn't. I let him carry it.

I think one of the problems with the Church here in the United States is our individualistic mindset. We have bought into the American ideal of the tough, independent loner, who doesn't need any help. Over the years, the idea has developed that salvation is strictly an individual, personal thing. Along with the fear of being judged if we drop our masks and admit our need, those things have produced a Church that is disjointed and week. This is a far cry from the picture we find in the New Testament of the Church as a body.

The past two weeks have taught me how important each part is in the function of the physical body. In the church, we also need each part. Everyone is important to the function of the body.
I've also learned that it's okay to ask for help, that no one is going to think any less of me if I can't do certain things by myself (at least no one who matters). It's not an easy lesson to learn, and I'll probably have to be reminded more than a few times.

We need each other. Jesus said that the world will know that we are his disciples by our love for each other. It is hard for that love to happen if we continue to try and convince ourselves, and others, that we can go it alone. Let us consider how we can meet the needs of those around us, as well as let our own needs be known.


kc bob said...

I hate these kinds of lessons :)

I have often said that humility often looks more like humiliation in our own eyes.. I want humility to be neat and tidy.. I want humility on my own terms.. unfortunately humility is rarely on our own terms because life (and God) humble us instead of we humbling ourselves.

Your story reminded me that sometimes we, like Peter, are asked to follow Jesus to places we do not want to go.

Glad you are recovering and feeling better.

Fred Shope said...

Bob, thanks for your comment. It definitely is humbling to be pretty much helpless, and not a way I would have chosen to humble myself.

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