Today I knew about a barbecue within my circle of friends. A couple people mentioned it to me yesterday (Thursday).
My Fourth of July plans, as of this morning- July 4, consisted of playing with my kids and waiting for my husband to return from a two day hike. I wanted to celebrate and be with other people, but I didn't want to put anyone out or show up where I (or my kids) wasn't (weren't) wanted.
So... to call or not to call and ask about the party.
Even with all the ways we have to contact one another these days, I am surprised how often people seem unwilling to ask other people for help. I know several people in the congregation who don't want to ask others for assistance during difficult times because they don't want to "put anybody out".
I recently had a conversation with a woman regarding a basic situation of church grounds maintenance (weeding) that she believed needed to be done, but was a bit beyond her. "Why don't you call a few people and ask them if they can help out?" I suggested.
"I shouldn't have to ask. They should volunteer. What's the world coming to when people have to be asked to help out?" This was her response. The tone in person was about how it reads in print.
It's funny. God certainly knows all our thoughts, our desires, our fears, our joys, and our longings. If there is Anyone who does not need asking to know about a situation, it is God. Yet, Jesus reminds us that we are indeed supposed to ask for what we need and desires (Matthew 7:7)
Do we obey this? Do we ask God for what we want? Do we bargain like Abraham, grieve like Samuel, and dance like David before the Lord? Do we weep like Hagar, listen like Deborah, and rejoice like Mary?
Do we ask?
What do we expect to get from God, much less anyone else, if we don't ask?
Asking, in the end, isn't even necessarily about wish fulfillment, but about communication in relationship. Meeting the needs of others- the mutuality of hope and shared experience- is how we come to understand what it means to be human. From that, we come to a better knowledge of why and how God was as one of us in Jesus.
Ask- even Jesus asked the Father for what he needed, wanted, and even wished for.
I texted the hostess around 10 am and asked if it would be okay if I came to the barbecue, allowing that it was totally okay if she already had a full list or it just wasn't a good fit this time.
She texted back, apologizing, because she thought we had already received an invite and just weren't coming. She requested that we bring dessert and I revamped our plans for the day to get the kids to take a nap and to have time to make some brownies.
She could have said no. I could have stayed home and wished we had a place to celebrate our country's independence and groused about no invitations.
But I decided to embrace my humanity and ask.