Last Thursday evening I put on something of a show in the hospital parking lot. Maybe you saw it. I’m surprised, actually, that there haven’t been Facebook posts about it. With video. What happened is this.
I had driven to Wayne Memorial that evening to see one of you in the hospital. It was a fine Spring evening, so I drove my little blue convertible there with the top down. I made my visit and afterward returned to my car. And here is where the show began.
I turned the key in the ignition and nothing happened. Nothing. The car didn’t start. There were no clicks, no nothing. The battery was completely dead. I sat in the car for a moment thinking about what to do. I couldn’t call my wife to come. She was at a school function that night. I didn’t even think about calling someone else to ask them to help me. There are two reasons for that. I do not like to bother people. That’s one, but there is a bigger one. That reason is, I do not like to ask for help. Ever. So how was I going to get the car started and get home? This is what I did. I took an old school approach. The car is a manual. That means if I could push it and push it fast enough, I could jump in, put it in gear, pop the clutch, and it would start. If. If I could push it fast enough. By myself, because I am not asking for help, remember?
I don’t know if you know this, and I didn’t until this moment, but the hospital parking lot isn’t exactly level. There is a slight slant and fortunately my car was on a high spot. Good. So I pushed it down the slant and got it moving as fast as I could, jumped in, slipped it in gear, popped the clutch and…nothing. So I pushed the car back up to the high spot and repeated. Nothing. At this point I realized I had forgotten to leave the key in the on position. Dumb. I pushed the car up again. Then down. Nothing. Okay, one more try, and by this time I was huffing and puffing from pushing my car all over the hospital parking lot, and as I pushed I realized that people, who knows how many, were probably watching me from windows all over the hospital. I didn’t want to ask for help because something in me says it’s embarrassing to ask for help, but in not asking for help I caused myself even more embarrassment.
This is what pride does, and pride is what my real problem was there in the parking lot and not a dead battery. Pride causes us to hide our need. We don’t want our neediness exposed. And in the end we end up more exposed, more embarrassed, than if we’d asked for help in the first place. I have seen this in other places with other people. And I remembered it that evening as I was pushing a car up and back and up again the hospital parking lot. And I remembered we do this with God too. We are to proud to let Him see our need and so we don’t ask. Pride keeps us from the help we need. And it sends people to hell. Ask.