To the person struggling with addiction,
To the child whose parents divorced,
To the adult who is watching their parents’ health decline,
To the mother of a child with a life-threatening illness,
To the suicidal person feeling hopeless,
To the family of a person with mental illness,
To the impoverished who piece together scraps to survive,
To the person feeling stuck at a dead-end job,
To the insecure person seeking validation from others,
To the teenager who feels lost and inadequate,
To the person who is terminally ill,
To those mourning, lost, broken, and hurting,
I wish I could tell you it will all be okay.
I wish you weren’t feeling the hurt, pain, confusion, despair, sadness, turmoil, and anger.
I wish you could feel peace.
I wish it didn’t feel trite to tell someone I’m praying for them.
I wish that prayer and faith brought comfort to everyone in their time of need.
I wish it were as simple as believing in God that could rid us of all the darkness.
I wish joy was forever abundant in our lives.
I wish pain didn’t exist.
But it does.
We all face times of suffering and watch those close to us struggle. Our pain is shared, no one is immune. Perhaps there’s strength to be found there, in each other, knowing we aren’t alone.
We can only overcome these things together. Regardless of what each of us believes–God, Buddha, nothing at all–we can unite in the inescapable common struggles. As sure as there is life, there is death. Light, dark. Bitter, sweet. Joy, sorrow. Mourning, celebration. Triumph, defeat. Why don’t we commit to sharing it all with each other?
We are quick to share the good news but avoid the bad, like no one will understand our pain. But we’re not alone.
What you are in the midst of, someone else has dealt with. That isn’t meant to minimize your pain, rather offer hope that you can move past it as well. There are others who share your feelings, can carry your burdens, lighten the load or shine a light on the darkness.
Let someone carry you while you carry others.
If you’re trying to do it alone, you won’t get far. I know it’s hard to trust, it’s hard to be vulnerable, it’s not easy to be honest, but when you do you find people who will not only share in your pain but rejoice in your triumphs. It is a great risk with a much greater reward. We can only do this if we stick together. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, strangers: unite.
Only in community will we stand a chance.
If you are feeling lonely or isolated then I have a suggestion for you. Share this with your network, see who responds and reach out to them. You are not alone.