Saturday, November 14, 2015

For my friend Catherine

Wow, Catherine. I was and am listening, but felt inadequate to respond. I read your post Friday morning, and thought of it all day and into this morning. As you can see on Facebook, I have friends who, even though they don't know you at all, feel compassion and empathy towards you and what you are going through. My words may offer little solace or comfort. Thankfully, though, you and I share a core trust in a Truth, and you are leaning on that now. 

Yet, sometimes, even faith in God can seem inadequate. You want someone PHYSICALLY there - a family member - that can hold your hand, or hold you, and simply - due to that life-long association - provide comfort that goes deep within. It's like the favorite blanket or sweater that you've had since you were young, or in college. It offers something that is intangible, but it is not "alive". However, it represents something that you retreat to when you are cold, or hurt. And it doesn't ask questions or give unsolicited advice. 

While I cannot relate to or even fully understand the pain of not having family, I don't believe you are alone as you feel you are. That may sound condescending, and I don't wish to trivialize what you're feeling. It's real. It hurts. Being alone can be so painful. But it also can be liberating. Just as you quoted 2 Corinthians 12:9, own that verse now. Give yourself time to mourn the loss and losses you've experienced, and maybe, that's best done alone. That is not to be considered an act of weakness. I believe it takes a stronger person to weep, than it does for a weaker person, because the weaker person does not wish to appear weak. A strong person weeps, and understands that in the act of weeping, the pain is voiced and subsequently released, and life moves on. Take ownership of that aloneness, confide in your friends, and weep. 

I think our former pastor John Todd would encourage you to do just that. But he would not advocate retreating into yourself. On the contrary, armed with that Truth that you carry, he'd advocate facing it, and eventually triumphing over it. And, yes, you have friends which can never be truly family, because, as you said, they have their families. But don't discount the value of those friendships. You DO have people to lean on. Maybe not in the literal sense. But they are there. 

I will keep you in my thoughts. 

John

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