I hate asking for help. I like being self-sufficient. I just want to carry or lift my own stuff and do things myself. If you ask if I need help, I say, “No, I’ve got it.” Sometimes it gets me in trouble.
Unfortunately, I have a case in point. My daughter was home last week and was going to help me put up the Christmas tree. I needed to get it down from the attic. I remembered the tree being in a large green bag that always took at least two adults to drag downstairs.
Up in the attic, I saw that the green bag was gone. It had held our old fat tree I had loved for decades. In its place was the smaller tree we got last year. It was in a box with a handle. I picked it up. I could manage it just fine. My daughter heard me moving around and yelled that she could come and help. “No! I’ve got it!” I called back, and I did. “This is going to be much easier than I thought,” I thought. I slid the box across the floor and to the stairway. I was going to be able to slide this right down the stairs with no help! “Yay!” I said to myself. The box slid like butter all the way. When it came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs, I felt victorious…for one…single…moment.
The Christmas tree box hit the floor and then slid to the side knocking the wise men off the steps. The wise men we have treasured since 1999. The wise men who have watched the Nativity from afar on the ends of our stairs for the 14 Christmases we have been in the parsonage. A head rolled from one guy; his face broke into pieces. Another one lost an entire side and a hand that was holding a gift. The tallest wise man and a camel were unscathed.
“Awww man!” I yelled and quickly began picking up shards of magi. It was my own fault.
This made my heart ache. These were wise men I had had for almost 20 years! I can still remember getting the Nativity set! Every year I have gingerly wrapped each figure in a plastic sleeve, carefully placing them in their designated slots in the original box. I have taken extra good care of the whole crowd! Now, because I was too stubborn to ask for help, parts of the nativity family were spread all over the place.
The impact of ceramic on hard wood floor caused significant damage. Tiny slivers were missing from each broken area and kept things from connecting smoothly. It’s hard gluing a wise man’s face back together when you don’t have all the pieces! I used Gorilla Glue for ceramics for best results and read the instructions twice to make sure I didn’t mess things up even more. The label said to contact the CDC if the glue came in contact with skin. It did, but I did not. At times, there was more glue on my fingers than on the wise men. It only took a few days to wear off.
Now that the wise men are back together, they don’t look completely terrible. One guy actually looks fine. You can’t see the cracks in his body unless you look closely. But the other guy looks like he was in a knife fight and then Dr. Frankenstein put him back together. He still has a fingernail-sized hole in his turban; I never found that piece. My beloved found his fingers behind one of our poinsettias, thank goodness.
The Bible reminds me: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). The Message translates it: “First pride and then the crash…” Man! It’s like they were at my house!
It’s great being strong and independent, but there are times in life we really do need help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help! If we try to do everything on our own, we can cause pain and suffering for someone else. Heads may roll! I may or may not have learned my lesson.
It’s not been a good year for my wise men. The day after I had glued them back together and returned them to their perch, they got knocked over again. (It had something to do with a dog toy but no one gave a clear explanation.) I heard the crash and rushed to see what had happened. My wise men lay in pieces and the camel was missing his rear end. Dadgum it!
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.