Because of who I am and what I do, I have an opportunity to talk with folks during some of the most incredible moments of their lives.
By incredible I mean both the extraordinarily great and the extremely bad. These are the vulnerable and deeply personal pieces of our lives.
What surprises me time and again in these times of sharing is not the sharing itself (though I have certainly been surprised), but the sense of uniqueness many feel during such moments.
Not to trivialize anyone’s pain, I am reminded of the first girl who rejected me. I cried into my pillow. My feeling of isolation so intense I was certain no one had ever experienced the kind of heartache I was experiencing.
Alone. Cut-off. Isolated. Barely hanging on.
I eventually discovered I was one of many (most? all?) who have felt the sting of unrequited love. My experience was far from unique or singularly significant. I also learned it would not be the first time I would feel such a hurt.
Which brings me to my point in writing…whatever you are going through, someone has shared your pain. Maybe more importantly, someone is sharing your pain. If you can broaden your vision, you’ll see others are trying to hang on just like you are.
So what? It still hurts.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not suggesting identifying your struggle as being a common one will lessen its impact or importance in your life. What am I hoping to do is to point you to a potential source of comfort and relief. You are NOT alone.
That simple thought has made all the difference in my life. When feeling discouraged and on the brink of despair, sitting with a trusted friend helps. They might not have the answers. They don’t make the problem go away. What they can offer is presence, an ally, a sounding board. Someone in the vast sea of humanity who cares.
A buddy of mine used to drive me around in his car and let me wail on his dashboard with a pair of drumsticks while I screamed out my pain. Now that’s a good friend.
Why would he do such a thing?
He had been there. He knew sometimes you just need to get it out…to talk or beat a dashboard or have a good long cry. He was present when I needed someone to be present.
So again, whatever difficulty you are in the middle of, know that there are those who are with you and for you. There are those who stand ready to walk with you or run with you or lie down with you. You may have to seek them out. You may have to open yourself to receive their support. You may have to risk being vulnerable.
You will have to look beyond yourself. And this is where I think I used to get stuck. Focused on my pain, I couldn’t see or imagine others may know something about what I was going through. I unnecessarily bore the burden of my difficulties alone because I wasn’t aware anyone else might be willing to bear them with me.
So if you are in that place today, if you are feeling alone, cut-off and isolated, let’s talk. You are NOT alone.
And if we can’t talk, do you know you are still NOT alone?
In fact, there is one whose very life was a testament that we are NOT alone. His name is Jesus, which means “God saves”. He is called Immanuel, which means “God with us”. Jesus is God’s antidote to isolation. Jesus is God’s promise of continual presence. Jesus is the assurance that when we hurt, when we struggle, when we fall down, we have one with us who knows our pain and hurt and is there to help us through.
So dear reader, I want you to know if you are troubled today, I am here. Even better, Jesus is. Don’t try to do life on your own. We weren’t made to live like that. Instead, remember we are created for relationship. We are built for community. We are called to do life with and for others.
Life is better together,