It’s not only asking for help that’s difficult but also accepting that which is freely offered. On Friday, we went to the Natural History Museum to see a wonderful IMAX film on the monarch butterfly. Leaving the museum afterwards, I tried to put my jacket on. After putting my right arm into the jacket, I was having some trouble swinging the jacket around to get the left arm in. The problem was only that the jacket was bunched up behind me. So I needed to take the jacket off, straighten out what was wrong in back and put the jacket on. Marja saw me struggling and moved over to help me. I was annoyed and pulled away from her help. In this particular case, my difficulty had nothing to do with the Alzheimer’s and I was able to take care of it by myself.
But, of course, there was no way Marja could read my mind and know for sure what I needed. So what she did was appropriate. What bothered me was thinking that she thought that I was helpless when, in fact, I wasn’t. So it’s going to be a delicate dance in which we both have to offer each other a lot of grace. I’d better learn to find a gracious place to receive help both when I need it and when I don’t.
I was reminded this morning that I’ll have to learn to laugh at myself. As treasurer for the church, I usually pick up the offering basket right after I’ve taken communion, bring it into the kitchen, and do the initial processing. After taking the offering, the liturgist is supposed to put the basket on the altar near where I take communion, so I can remove it. But sometimes they don’t, putting the basket in different places. Sometimes I fantasize they’ve purposely hidden it. At our services we give each another communion. After receiving the bread and juice we turn and offer them to the person behind us in line. This morning, I’d just taken communion from the person ahead of me and was turning around to give the bread to the woman behind me. But I was also looking to make sure that the liturgist had put the offering basket in the right place. As I turned and offered the bread to Carol, I looked down and instead of the bread I was holding the offering basket. I gave a look of chagrin, hurriedly exchanging the basket for the bread. At another time in my life it would just have been one of those funny things that happen. But for me such events are going to happen more and more frequently. It’s still funny, I suppose; at least Marja thought so when I told her at home. So I’d better learn to laugh at myself as this worsens.