A little over a month ago, I experienced a hiking accident. I got confused by trail markings and instructions and I didn’t make the wisest decision. I tried to climb a rather large rock. I fell twenty feet, sprained both ankles, fractured my heel, and got bruised and scraped all over.
I’m 41 years old and I’ve had the good fortune of being pretty healthy. As a pastor, I go to visit people in the hospital and elderly congregants who have difficulty leaving the house. I generally take it for granted that I am the one who makes visits rather than one who can benefit from such care. But here I was (and to a lesser extent, still am) stuck on the couch with my feet up and unable to drive.
Over the last month I have stayed with friends, had people deliver groceries, meals, and a congregant even did my laundry. People have given me rides, even to far off places. My parents came for a week and took care of the growing mound of tasks that have accumulated since my fall. I have received numerous cards, calls, and kind words. I have, in general, felt like a spoiled teenager as I have largely stayed in place and have had little choice but to accept help. A lot of help.
I’m not sure what I’ll think about this experience in a few months, but for the moment I am struck by this reversal in roles. I usually do the visiting and the organizing of help. I’m truly touched and grateful for the compassion and generosity I’ve received. I’m also understanding a bit more why it is that people don’t ask for the help they need. It isn’t the easiest thing to do.