Today, I posted to Facebook with a link to the PayPal Money Pool that I've set up for my hip replacement surgery. And it feels weird.
Why does it feel so weird to ask for help in this way? And I say "in this way" because if I dropped my keys in the parking lot and couldn't pick them up, I would have no trouble asking a stranger to help. I have relied upon the kindness of strangers my entire life. I wonder what the difference is, in my mind.
Part of the reason for this website is to bring awareness to the fact that I live with pain every day. A mental health counselor has encouraged me to explain to those people closest to me just how difficult life is because of it. I've spent decades proving that I can overcome the pain, the physical limitations, and the challenges. He says that it would be therapeutic (and they would likely want to know) to share the details of the challenges I have already conquered and continue to face each day.
He used a great analogy to illustrate his point. He said that my lifelong effort to prove that I can be independent is like running a marathon. And that having lived so fully - owned businesses, traveled the world, had exciting experiences - has proven my independence. It's like I have finished my own personal marathon. So when he suggests I ask for help, and I refuse to do so, he says that is like I'm continuing to run. "Why would you keep running after you've completed the marathon?"
I have to admit he makes a valid point. I feel proud of my accomplishments. I know I've had help along the way, but I'm also very proud of all the work and energy I've expended to overcome my pain and difficulties to achieve those accomplishments.
Is it different because I'm asking for monetary help? Is that the difference, in my mind? Do I have some guilt associated with money? Do I feel guilty, or embarrassed, because at times, I've been a very poor steward of the money I've earned and/or received?
It feels like that is the difference. If my co-worker brings me a meal from home, I can accept that generosity much more easily than if she were to give me a ten dollar bill. After all, why would I accept money from my co-worker?
But then again, that plate of food is time and energy spent. And that's exactly what money is - a representation of our time and energy.
I will continue to ponder this question. And, in the meantime, humbly accept any generosity extended my way - whether money or something else, from a friend or stranger. Thank you for your kindness. Please know it is appreciated.