Last night a dear friend said something that resonated all through my body to the soul level. She's currently battling cancer with bone clenching, cell shaking chemotherapy. Having never been ill before in her life she says, "I don't reach out to people because who wants to hear about my sickness, struggles, and sorrow?"
How are you? Are you hiding a houseful of woes behind a cheerful face? In our church everyone smilingly says, "How are you today?" Most of the time they really don't want to know. If they actually DO want to know nobody has time to cry on each other's shoulders. Besides that would make their Sunday clothes soggy!
In Me (soft e sound) he co...as those who speak Espanol call it (I love so many things about that place!) My dear friend tells me (she's from Tampico) that when people ask Como Estas? Which means How Are You? They really, truly want to know the answer. Even if the person is a total stranger. She proved her point to me as she refused to let me be an isolationist neighbor and pretty much dragged me kicking and screaming into one of the dearest friendships of life. I wasn't kicking and screaming because of my beloved neighbor. I was kicking and screaming because of the sorrow, stress, and sickness in my life. She just brushed that aside with a wave of her dainty hand, as you would brush aside a nasty cobweb in your path and insisted on loving me..
Telling the complete truth losing my husband has kicked my booty pretty well. Sometimes the grief is so overpowering that I can hardly hold a two way conversation even with those that I love the most. I cancelled a fun evening with family this weekend because I just couldn't handle the conversation. I wanted so badly to curl up in a corner and cry! I kind of did that for awhile. I wish I could say that it made me feel better, a catharsis...it will only be better when I'm with my honey again. Don't worry, I WILL keep living, and I DO know that in time it won't hurt quite so badly.
Yet, we all need to quit isolating to lick our wounds in private! NOBODY gets better by themselves. Let me repeat that in case any of you were getting bored and drifted off. NOBODY gets better by themselves!!!! We all need a hand up, a hug, an affirmation that we hurt.
There are friends that are "fair weather friends," that will disappear because they are incapable of dealing with the weight and girth of your pain. To my way of thinking they were only friends for the most positive parts of life. We all need friends who can bear it when you're talking about your colon disease, or cancer of the bowel. Get over it already people....life happens! (OK, but maybe not for hours on end the discussion of the sewer parts of our anatomy...everything in balance right?)
SO HERE IS YOUR CHALLENGE FROM ME TO YOU! It's all in caps because I didn't want anyone to miss it :) Today, NOT TOMORROW....today, reach out to someone that you know is struggling. If they start to rant beyond the time that you can spare hug them hard and tell them you'll call in a few days, AND THEN CALL THEM. You can simply NEVER give without getting back much, much more. It may take a few times to get used to the all too human idea that a sorrow shared is contagious. NOPE...here are the Mathematics of love (I wish I knew who came up with this quote, I'd like to thank them), "A joy shared is multiplied, a sorrow shared is divided." So go divide someone's troubles. Don't then take them on your shoulders, for that doesn't help ANYONE. Brush their troubles off your shoulders and then put them in your prayers. I KNOW that there is someone who listens and blesses us through prayer.
I'm going to steal a quote from a man I grew up admiring, Arthur Godfrey, "Goodbye, and God bless."