While we were in Palm Springs, Carol and I decided to attend an eight week Bible study at a local neighborhood church. The topic was Relationships. Even though I figured I knew all there was to know about the subject, I decided to go anyway. Maybe I could share some of my wisdom with others in the group. And besides, I was just going to get to know some of the men a little better. (Prov. 16:18)
Week One and the video presentation felt stiff and wooden. I thought, “I can do better than that.” Week Two dealt with mind reading (second guessing what the other person is thinking without asking for clarification), and how to ask for clarification. Again, it felt wooden and rehearsed. I couldn’t imagine talking to someone else like that. Though I agreed with the scripture reference. “To answer before listening – that is folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13. And to my credit, I listened carefully and offered what I felt were some very insightful comments and observations.
I missed Week Three and Four because we flew back to Seattle to spend a snow weekend at Leavenworth with our family. Carol returned to Palm Springs, but my flight was a few days later. My flight was at 7:50 PM so I needed to leave for the airport around 4:30 or 5:00 PM, right in the middle of rush hour as it was getting dark. I started to panic a little. How could I ask someone to take me to the airport at such an inconvenient hour? It could take up hours of their time. Who would want to do such a thing? What I was really saying was, “Who would want to do such a thing for ME?” I’ll just take an Uber.
Carol said I should ask if someone from the Men’s Bible Study group would take me. I really started to panic now. Why would they want to do that for me? It would be such a time consuming bother. And all the way to the airport, during rush hour and in the dark! As I wrestled with the feelings, I realized I had a self-esteem issue, or even pride. I didn’t believe I was good enough to ask for such a selfish favor. All my life I’ve figured out how to do things without asking for help. Now, I still struggle with that. The bottom-line was I was afraid to ask. (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
The Wednesday morning Bible Study arrived. We went through our breakfast, study and prayer requests like we always do. Finally, just before everyone got up to leave, I decided to take the plunge. My heart was in my throat and I was scared to death. I almost chickened out. But finally I said, “I fear that if I were to ask you guys for help or a favor, that you would think less of me.” There was a brief pause and then they all started laughing, as though I had just asked the most ridiculous question in the world. “Well, I suppose it depends on what you need…a kidney?” They all laughed some more. “No, I just need a ride to the airport tomorrow.” They laughed again and I’m sure that some were grateful that I wasn’t asking for a kidney. Several offered to take me. Russ Peterson drew the short straw.
Why was I so afraid to ask for a ride to the airport? Was it pride? Low self-esteem? Low self-worth? Maybe a little bit of all those things. What did I learn? That in God’s eyes and in the eyes of these amazing men, I was worth something. Neither God nor these guys thought less of me asking for a favor. I was humbled by their laughter and their response. What was I thinking? Of course they would help me. What a ridiculous fear! “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 I also appreciate the Relationship Study. It gave me the wooden question I used to clarify my feelings: “I fear you would think less of me if…”