We shared a rental home on the Isle of Palms with another tennis family, ate several meals with them, sharing great stories and laughter, walked on the beach with them, and commiserated over the bizarre rules and expectations of junior tennis players and their families. Such is the club we've joined; no one forced us, but sometimes it's crazy-making.
We all love the beach, even on windy days in February.
Today I went in for the 5th of six healing therapy treatments. Yet another dear friend drove more than two hours to sit with me for the three and a half hours of infusions. We talked, laughed, groaned, ate lunch, prayed, and otherwise made the most of a pretty awful thing - kanswer sucks!!! All the while, I received texts and emails full of support, love, good thoughts, and prayers. Then I returned home to find more cards from still more friends in the mailbox. Last week and over the weekend. I received lengthy emails from people sharing their own stories with me. It is official - I have some of the best friends in the world. And am enormously grateful to receive their love - your love - and good will while I'm still alive and not at my funeral when only family and friends will hear it.
Nearly every day, I receive an email or a text from someone asking for prayer or support with a problem they are facing or sharing a story of a challenge they have faced or are currently facing. And nearly every single person begins or ends with an apology of some sort: "I shouldn't be telling you at this difficult time in your life, Gail." "I don't even know why I'm telling you this. This is my problem to solve." "Where did this story come from? I haven't thought or spoken about this stuff in years."
Friends, sister-friends, soul-friends - please, please, please don't ever apologize for sharing your life with me or for telling me your stories. There is nothing about you that I don't want to know. There is no tale, no experience, no joy, no sorrow that I don't want to know or hear about. For some reason, you and I are walking together at this moment in our lives. Please don't think that I don't care what is happening to you now or what has happened to you in the past or, worse, that there isn't enough room in my soul for you at this challenging time in my own life.
If nothing else, this kanswer thing has shown me that there is a tremendous need for each of us to love and be loved, to help and be helped, to share and be shared with. We are all dealing with something that is causing our minds and souls distress and fear, so let's bear one another's burdens. Let's share our stories and live together with the questions, praying that someday we will also live our way into the answers. Just as the True Lover of My Soul demonstrated on his last night on earth, let us love one another to the end.
Life is short. Love is eternal.
Suffering breaks our hearts and spirits. Love rebuilds us.
Some memories remind us of painful times gone by. Love grants relief.
We are all heavy carrying burdens, my friends. Each of us. All of us.
We are all lying in bed at night wondering how we will survive it, whatever "it" is.
We are all desperate to be seen, heard, held, and welcomed home. Wherever "home" is.
If we choose to share our sorrows only when the designated listener has everything in order in his or her own life, then we will never, ever get to share our sorrows. So go ahead - tell me all about it.
I will catch you up on my life.
Please catch me up on yours.