Just spent a week in the hospital with my daughter.

What was supposed to be a two to three day stay turned into seven days, and what I noticed is that some strange things happen in these crisis moments.

You feel alone.

Like no one understands or can relate. You think about how unique your situation is and how no one else has been in this. Even when people say, “Been there,” or, “I understand,” you think, “there’s no way, this is different”. After all, no one knows MY kid the way I do. No one responds to treatment and pain and isolation like she does. How could anyone know what we are going through? Maybe you’ve been there. Alone.

You feel together.

Even though you feel isolated and locked up in a room, you crave connection. You need to know others are praying for you, thinking of you, reaching out to you. As a pastor, I spend most of my time trying to be there for others. But in this situation, I took great joy in knowing others were there for us. Suddenly text messages and Facebook comments asking how she’s doing or telling me they are praying for her were incredibly meaningful. I even felt a connection with the hospital staff. The nurses and doctors became like camp friends. Those who I may not see again, but for whom I would be forever grateful. Maybe you long to be there–together.

What is it that makes us move from alone to together? After all, most of us feel alone every day. Driving to a job where people know a shell of you, but not the real you. Sitting at home with a family who knows you today but not years ago. And loneliness becomes a self-isolated prison; locked from the inside. Even though there are others who can relate, and can even help, why do we stay stuck “alone” and not move to “together”?

It was a crisis that made us move out of isolation into community. Maybe that can work for you too.

Instead of waiting for a hospital stay or a major catastrophe, perhaps we should simply let the crisis of isolation be enough. The crisis of trying to raise kids be enough. Or the crisis of trying to stay married be enough. How about we recognize that life is crisis enough? Faith is crisis enough. Family is treacherous enough. Let’s feel alone together.

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