As I drove down the interstate a crying woman sped past me in the left lane, and a man talking animatedly on his blue-tooth zoomed by in the right. Wheeled bubbles of steel and glass rolled by the drama that clearly showed something was broken. Real people, with real lives, whizzing down the highway heading to destinations unknown. It is sobering to think how so many lives intersect but are still separated. That woman, with the tears, was weighed down by deep feelings. That man was attempting to talk his way out of his early morning problem. They both pushed forward alone into the crisp autumn morning on the highway right of the carpool lane.
There are too many burdens to carry on our own, but that doesn’t keep us from trying. We cover over the detail of real life with Instagram filters, and “I’m fine,” or “we’re busy,” are the expected reply to the affable, “How are you?” Real answers are scary both to share and listen to. I fear we erect our own walls of steel and glass to keep inquirers from reaching our hearts.
How are you, really?
We don’t talk about domestic violence—too much shame.
We don’t talk about miscarriage and infant loss—too sad.
We don’t talk about racial divisions (unless we’re with people who agree with our own opinion)—too polarizing.
We don’t talk about the percentage of foster children who age out of the system and become homeless—too complex.
We don’t talk about human trafficking, today’s slavery—too dark.
We don’t talk about mental health or people we love who struggle—too messy.
We put the pretty, shiny moments on the internet to be celebrated, but remain isolated in the parts of the heart that needs the most healing. At best people band together in whatever they are dealing with and lament at how everyone else just doesn’t understand. We just don’t want to be alone.
The good news is that we weren’t meant to be. Both the joy and the pain are not meant to be experienced alone. Romans 12:15 says, we are to “ Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Despite the many masks and images we cultivate online, it appears not everyone wants to stay isolated. We raise awareness through walks, runs, ribbons and t-shirts. Every cause send out the invitation: This is my life. I don’t want to be lonely anymore. Can you help? Will you listen?
The cry of connected but lonely people: Rejoice with me! Mourn with me! Be with me!
We must be aware of the deep places, and not afraid to share our own hurts in order to be the family God meant us to be for one another. You don’t have to live out a set of circumstances to be impacted by them. But you do have to be willing to listen as well as willing to share.
Perhaps the cry for awareness is simply a cry for love.
A love that is aware of the real substance in each other’s lives despite the disorder. A love inspired by the life of Jesus, who entered into some awfully messy situations and empowers us to do the same. He is still the one who is aware of it all. All the pain, all the disease, all the horror that haunt the shadows of people passing us. He crossed lines to love people where there was racism, incurable illness, and social injustice. Bereaved parents, social outcasts, and hurting people flocked to Jesus then, and He reaches out to us now.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)
Readers, Do you have a burden that you need Jesus to carry, but aren’t sure how to start a relationship with him? Find our more about this Jesus here.
Holly is a wife, mother of one, and foster mother to many. She seeks to glorify God in all she does, for all her life. She studied Intercultural Studies at Corban University and loves to build bridges between cultures and people. She welcomes people into her life, into her heart, and into her home with hopes of offering encouragement. You can find more from Holly here at Anchored Voices or at her blog Called to Restore.