The Joy (and Power) of Knowing You’re Not Alone

Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” –  C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I spotted the young boy across the produce section. He stood next a shopping cart, with his three sisters, as dad studied a grocery list. The boy moved to a pile of peaches. He started to bounced impatiently, as if deciding between obedience or mischief.

Why, you ask? Why a story about this boy?

Simple. Boys with hearing aids pull hard on my heartstrings.

And his aids were RAD! Black with bright yellow, red, blue, and green specks. I remember when my son, Aaron, would choose the most colorful camouflage or printed ones he could get. The louder the better (no pun intended). Now he’s a teenager and does anything to hide them. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get him to wear them as he insists he hears, “Just fine, Mom.”

Sometimes growing older has a way of twisting bravery into shame.

Trying not to stare at the family as they moved on, I turned my attention back to grape tomatoes, and other things for dinner.

We met again in the checkout line. A little one bumped into me and when I turned to say hello, I saw it was the family from the produce section.

I saw the boy, and our eyes met. I gave him a quick smile as I turned to his to dad and said, “My son wears hearing aids too.”

“Really?” he asked as he eagerly tapped his son on the shoulder and signed to him what I said.

Then it happened.

His face broke open into the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. His eyes went wide and he looked at me with absolute joy and wonder.

photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel

In an instant he was no longer alone. A thread of commonality was forged – unity with another soul. It doesn’t matter that he and my son will likely stay strangers. There’s someone out there – a boy no less, living like him in a hushed world where sound exists in quiet shadows.

Suddenly, joy and knowledge replaced isolation, and difference, and solitary struggle.

I’ve heard a few times this week how the enemy steals, kills, and destroys (John 10:10). Matthew Henry once said that if the enemy can’t steal you from Christ, he aims to kill and destroy.

He that will not suffer himself to be robbed is in danger of being slain. – Matthew Henry

Not usually in the literal sense. He kills by other slipperier, less obvious means.

He will try to kill and destroy when we hold our deepest battles in our hands, and believe we don’t have – or don’t deserve, fellowship with another person.

That our troubles are too shameful, pitiful, or too made-up, to share with anyone else. Or to ask for prayer, or presence, from others is utter selfishness.

Oh, but the joy and power we gain when this lie is shattered!

I saw it again, later in the week, when I told a friend how we’ve have (and are) walking the same pain-filled road. I get her. Her hurt is my hurt, and it’s closer than I even thought.

She looked at me with some surprise, some gratitude, and dare I say possibility.

I pray she walked away a little less lonely, and a lot more brave, KNOWING she wasn’t alone.

Where have you hesitated to give yourself permission to share your struggles?

What part of you is dying inside because the enemy is killing you slowly with loneliness, isolation, or detachment?

Friend, I implore you to reach out. Find a moment of courage and let someone know what’s breaking your heart.

And if it takes a little time to find someone to shoulder your pain, know how much God is with you … always.

You are NOT alone.

Crush the lie and believe – with all your heart, the other half of John 10:10 …

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

2 Replies

  1. Lori perez

    Thank you Raye for sharing. I too shared something with my best friend last week. She is going through sonething that she is scare about and I told her I went through the same thing a long time ago and shared with her everything that I went through and she had told me that she was so happy that she had called me because it made her feel better knowing that someone else had gone through the same exact thing. Now she knows we can talk about it and I will understand everything she is going through.

    1. Raye Wortel

      Yes, Lori! There is such power in knowing others understand our struggles. She’s blessed to have you as a friend.

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