It is no longer a surprise that we live in a time when asking for help is a sign of weakness. And nobody wants to be weak because we live in a world battered by pride and ego. We all want to be perfect in all ramifications, self-sufficient and need no one’s help for any reason at any time. This is the mentality that many of us have today. It is a self-destructive mentality and one that has done more harm than good to our societies.
As a priest, I see this attitude of “I can do it all by myself” every day in my ministries and encounters with people. This mindset contradicts common-sense experience. Too often, we face the reality of not doing certain things for ourselves sometimes because we are emotionally, spiritually, or physically weak. Other times, we are sick or advanced in years or lack particular skills. The “I can do it all by myself” mentality contradicts everything we know about Jesus Christ and the teachings that we follow as Christians. At the heart of his ministry and teachings is “help one another” (Matthew 25:44-45; Mark 10:21; Luke 3:10-11; 6:28; 12:33-34).
Recently, one of our wonderful parishioners invited me to snow-sledding with her children after heavy snow. We went to the centennial park, where we met almost a hundred other people enjoying the snow. Anyone familiar with sledding may agree with me that the most challenging part of it is climbing up the hilltop after sledding down. It can be very slippery and exhausting.
Sometime during the sledding, I was walking up the slimy mound with a little boy of about eight years old a couple of meters ahead of me. At a point, he was falling and scrabbling for something to hold on to. As he was falling, he saw me and screamed, “please help me.” Immediately I reached out and grabbed his hands and helped him up. We continued up the hill and went our separate ways.
Later that evening, as I was thinking about the day’s sledding, I remembered the little boy and how he screamed, “please help me.” Then I wondered to myself – as an adult, could I have quickly asked for help as the young man did? In other words, am I able to ask for help when I need it, or does pride overcome me so much that I would instead fall and maybe get injured than ask for help?
The “please help me” that the young man screamed is a sign that he is human. As human beings, we are social by nature. That means we are dependent on others at various times and in different situations every day of our lives. But unfortunately, very often, especially as adults, we think of it as a weakness to ask for help. In other words, we consider it a weakness to be human. When this happens, we become less humans. God bless that little boy for reminding me that it is okay to ask for help.