I missed two days of posting, probably for the first time in six years, but it felt right to take a break, and just watch lacrosse for two days. It was a fine weekend, albeit exhausting, and while not a real sports mother, I've grown to like watching my son play lacrosse. Since the games are only one hour, there's no time to feel bored, and the venue for the tournament was beautiful, albeit a repurposing of a landfill. The skies were big with dragon clouds, Bob Dylan's song on repeat in my head, and since I know few people on Henry's team, I was left largely to myself.
I NEED HELP!
I heard this over and over, shouted in hoarse, deep man-boy voices during the games.
HELP HIM OUT! HE NEEDS HELP!
I heard that, too, in even deeper and louder shouts from the coaches on the sidelines.
The boys -- young men, really -- scramble to help one another, seem to know implicitly who needs help, when and how much. The game is often a violent one, and when too violent, yellow flags fly, a boy is sent off the field to kneel in contrition for however many seconds the umpire assigns, after those seconds pass, he stands up and runs back out to join in chasing that small, hard white ball, scooping it up, passing it to another boy whose position is to race toward the net, aim toward it through the phalanx of players helping out their goalie.
Get ready because other than dragon clouds and only knowing careless love, being alone on a lacrosse field for two days under the wide blue sky calls for more introspection and possibly, even, a strained metaphor from the likes of non-athletic me.
It struck me that shouting for help and ordering help during a lacrosse game is completely acceptable, but that many of us who care for kids with disabilities or our aged parents for years and even decades, or those with chronic illnesses themselves, rarely ask for help, much less shout for it. Many of us, when we do ask for help, do so reluctantly, whether it's for money, for relief, for an open ear or arms to hold us. The longer you go, the more difficult it is to recognize your need for help and to ask for it. I'd venture to say, too, that most people don't even realize that we might need help, probably because we don't ask for it, or because they think we've got it all down, at this point. I believe that in the absence of crisis, people feel a sort of compassion fatigue when it comes down to dealing with people like us. I confess to feeling a gnawing resentment about this and a quiet acceptance. Both feelings -- resentment and acceptance -- come and go, the one small, hard and painful, much like the lacrosse ball, the other majestic in its breadth, much like the clouds and that sky and the lonely path ahead.
Maybe it's time to start shouting. Maybe it's time for you, too, to shout for help. Maybe it's time for you to shout for others to help. Maybe it's time for you to help.