I've spent a lot of time in hospitals and with those who are ill. But that has always been for others. The past 10 days have been my first personal experience with being the one in need. Here are some things that I am learning:
- I am vulnerable. It is humbling to be unclothed before others. it is humbling to need help with the basics of life. I can't just push through everything. I don't have all of the answers. Even when I do things "right" it may not work out perfectly or get done as fast as I wish it would. I am not as in control as I wish I was.
- It is hard to ask others for help. I see this all the time with others in need. Now I feel it. I don't want to be a burden. I want to be competent. I feel better about myself when I am giving. My biggest emotions and frustrations in the past week have been when I am not able to help my wife. This isn't about her willingness to serve me or her ability or strength. Mostly it is about how I want to see myself.
- I'm not as alone as I choose to be. One of my weaknesses - and this shows up with my kids, my marriage, my community involvement, at the church... - is that I don't include others in what I am doing. This journey has been really light for me because so many people have quickly and even joyfully taken on my responsibilities so that I can rest and recover. Thank you to each of you who has stepped up. You not only helped me in the short term but you have shown me a different way of living - more connected, more communal.