On a more personal level, each of us encounter adversities unknown to those around us. In my attempt to be perfect and independent, I avoid asking for help at almost any cost. I want to be the strong one. I want to be the older brother. Looking at the horrors which the families of this week's victims now face, I'm ashamed at my weakness to handle the simplest of trials.
I don't experience any addictions (unless you count facebook. #StereotypicalMillennial), and I often feel disconnected from many of my friends because it takes more effort for me to empathize with that struggle. I'm grateful that for whatever reason I haven't been sucked into that trap.
But this doesn't preclude me from tasting a swig of the bitter cup. I experience a profound loneliness more often then not, mainly because my chronic illness limits my day-to-day activities to the bare necessities of physical and academic survival. I want to connect with others, and I don't feel like I'm socially inept, which makes it that much harder to deal with the loneliness.
Sometimes (okay, almost all the time) I need a hug or to be held, to be told that I'm worth it and the sacrifices I'm making are worth it. However, I fear rejection, or worse, that I'll be perceived as a burden to someone else. I unfortunately base this off of relationships that I have with other guys in the Mormon SSA community, some of whom don't recognize that we aren't close enough friends for them to throw their troubles on me. I'm afraid that I'm that kind of person to someone else.
Along these lines, something that we often skim over when reading the New Testament is that the Savior Himself asked for help. The Messiah, our ultimate example, was perfect, yet instead of bearing all of His burdens alone, He involved those around Him.
He asked His disciples to help build the kingdom. He likely asked Mary, Martha, and Lazarus for food and shelter. He certainly accepted the help of many, like the boy with the loaves and the fishes.
Easily the most profound example of Christ asking for help was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew that He was going to face the most painful experience known to man, so Jesus asked His friends to come with Him as far as they could. He repeatedly entreated them to stay awake so that He would know that there were others supporting Him. When His disciples failed Him, the Savior called upon the powers of heaven to sustain Him through the agonizing Hellfire in the garden that night. An angel was sent by the Father to give Him the strength He needed to complete the keystone of the Plan of Salvation.
Was this a burden to others? Was the man who held the weight of the world on His shoulders unjustified in pleading for help? While we face minuscule trials by comparison, the Savior recognizes our need for help.
If you knew the stories your friends tell themselves about their worthlessness, their ugliness, their filthiness, your heart would break for them. Would you not want to do all you could to heal them? To pull them out of their darkness? To tell them the truth?
I struggle with being the gracious recipient of help. Even more so, I dread the vulnerability of asking for help. Humble pie tastes like dirt, but I need to stop turning my nose up to it all the same.
I hope that we can recognize the struggles of those around us and visit them in their darkness from a place of empathy, and when we sense that our best is not enough that we will reach out to others for Christlike love and affirmation.