What is it about asking for help that is so hard? What more, what is it about help that is so hard to give? Father Damian Ference, recovering from knee surgery, shares some insights about what it means to help those in need—from someone who was.
My mom died a year before I was ordained. My dad is 87 and legally blind. And my only brother has a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old that keep him very busy. So when the Scientist asked me where I was going to recover from my knee surgery, I didn’t know what to tell him.
I considered recovering at the seminary, which is where I live, but the priests I live with told me that was a bad idea. There aren’t many people around here in the summer, the hallways are long, and the only way that I could receive visitors after hours would be if I made my way down to the first floor and let them in myself.
A few of my friends who are pastors invited me to recover in their rectories, which sounded like a good plan at first, but after thinking about it, I realized that all of their rectories had the guest rooms on the second or third floor. I liked the idea of living in a rectory again, but I didn’t like the thought of stairs nor did I want to be a burden to busy parish priests.
I was running out of options. I needed to find someone to take care of me. And I was getting desperate. Surgery was only a couple weeks away and I was running out of ideas. Then it hit me.
I remembered that line in the twelfth chapter of Exodus—if the family is too small for the Passover lamb, then they should join a larger family. This biblical inspiration gave me hope, and it also took away some of the fear and embarrassment that often comes with asking for help. I started thinking back to all those people from my first parish assignment that had told me, “Father, if you ever need anything, don’t be afraid to ask.”...