I'm sans vehicle this week and I can't say I'm sad about that. It's just routine maintenance, loose ends and loose screws, nothing to worry about. But the trusty mechanic is a 40 minute drive away (you have to trek for worthwhile things like trusty mechanics these days, especially if you're a single girl in a strange city), and so the whole situation is a bit of a hassle.
One I'm happy for, though, to be honest.
I said to a friend yesterday morning that asking for help is hard, I'd almost rather do anything else than swallow my pride and say, "Will you help me?"
It's not the advice asking or the wisdom seeking that's difficult, I'll gladly get counsel from anyone. I know enough to eat the melon and spit the seeds. It's the actual physicality of the help, the action of help, the working hands, the rubber meeting the proverbial road. Or, in this case, the rubber literally meeting the road in the form of hitching rides all week.
It's so hard for me.
My parents raised me to be a pioneer and not the wander in circles sort either, but the real get your hands dirty, show the world what a work ethic is, brave new worlds sort of pioneer. They raised us to be self-reliant and resourceful. This works well best when applied to seven boys, which they had; it works less well when when applied to one girl, which they also had; and it works least well when that one girl reaches age 30 and has found herself a very independent sort who needs help often, but doesn't like to ask for it.
The nagging dislike of the ask rears its head most often in regard to all things cars, but don't let that fool you. If I needed help with everything else, it would rear its head with it all. Pride hath no particulars, it seeps into every corner and strangles even the most able.
It's just that unless I have to ask for help, I wouldn't know that the pride was there, glaring, waiting to pounce, willing to pounce, wanting to pounce.
Sometimes we need a finger pointing back at us to show us what's already there.
My finger is my car. It always has been. And I think it probably always will be.
I am paralyzed by the unknown and everything beyond a speedometer, a clutch and a gas-tank is unknown.
Here's the clincher, though: I want to keep it that way.
Because I'm a learner, and I'm convinced that if I put my mind to it, I could figure out enough to get me by, to not walk into the crusty mechanic's shop with "I'm a Single Girl" written on my forehead. I'll bet I could throw out words like carburetor and radiator and mechanicator and other -ator words and impress them a bit. Probably impress myself a bit.
But here's what I've decided to do instead: be ignorant.
I shrug my shoulders, I confess that I know nothing, I turn my hands palm up, I beg rides, I ask for a liaison, I hand off my estimates, and I ask questions with my eyes. I give blank stares. I do this on purpose.
Well, sort of on purpose.
Because I need to need to ask for help. I know this. If I don't need to need to ask for help, I will craft my self-made kingdom and walk out a self-reliant life, and I will never have a finger pointing back at me, reminding me of my need.
This isn't about cars, you probably knew that. But it is still a bit about cars. It's a bit about finding the places in our lives where we feel raw and exposed, where our souls are given opportunity to worry and don't take it. It's about being intentional about letting our needs and requests known and feeling the weight of being here on earth, where we're not finished yet.
It's about oil pans and mufflers, yes, but more it's about swallowing my pride and asking for a ride. It's about tipping the mechanic well, because he knows something about which I've remained ignorant and should be valued for it. It's about shrugging my shoulders and saying, I don't know and I don't need to know.
He numbers the hairs on my head and cares about fallen swallows, surely He cares for me.