So I was chatting away with (okay, kind of babbling to) our pastor this morning and we were talking about how isolating it can be going through something this difficult in your life (grief, loss, illness, etc).
As a general rule, humans avoid pain at all costs. And often times, the people closest to you will avoid you because of it (FYI you can't catch widow).
He asked me if I've felt isolated because of it. Separate from other people in my life.
And then this image pops into my head.
It's like being one one side of a glass wall and everyone else you know is on the other side. And the glass is half-frosted and smudgy and you can't quite see through it. It's all hazy on your side and you can just see the shapes of the people on the other side, their outlines, that they are milling about in a large crowd.
And you are shouting as loudly as you can for them to look at you, to see you, to understand you. You are trying to make them notice you and hear what you are saying, to understand what it is you are going through and how profound and life changing it is. You can't help but wonder to yourself, why can't they hear me? Why aren't they looking up? I have had this enormous thing happend in my life, that is all-consuming, and now see the entire world in a whole new light. How can they not as well?
But the glass is soundproof.
And difficult to see through.
And they haven't even noticed you shouting, all this time.
So they don't even look up.
And then you realize, there is no way to make them understand. No matter how eloquent your words, how clever your analogies, how carefully you explain it... they simply cannot cross over to your side and understand until they have experienced this kind of pain and loss firsthand.
It is very lonely on the other side of that wall.
It's just you, alone in your thoughts. Your life is changed forever and you want desperately to bring everyone with you but it is a journey you must make alone.
And then out of the nowhere, someone else pops onto your side of the glass. Sometimes for just a few minutes, sometimes someone you don't even know. But they are there. And for just that little blessed while, they get it. They understand the hurt. They are hurting too.
I have been very fortunate to have a few people on my side of the wall. A friend from 8 years ago who lost his son and mother, who understood what hurt really is. He was only here for a couple months, but having someone who finally got it made all the difference in the world.
And today my pastor, going through his own heartache, truly understood and stood on my side of the glass with me.
I hate that they have to hurt so much to understand.
But I am just so grateful to have that person there with me, even if it's only for a short while.