My kinsmen have gone away; my friends have forgotten me. Job 19:14
We often hear about the trials of Job. He endured tragic losses, pain, suffering, isolation, and the misunderstanding of others. I read those words and thought, “Wow, it happened to him, too.”
I don’t know exactly what it is about loss and suffering that drives other people away. Are they afraid it’s contagious? Does it fill them with fear that these same things could happen to them? Do they just not care?
I know how painful it is to feel that one can be so easily forgotten. Even friends we thought were “forever” friends – may leave us behind.
There is more than one type of pain with many of our illnesses. Many times, the emotional pain can be as bad as, if not worse than, the physical pain.
Feeling useless is my biggest bugaboo. When I am the most discouraged, it seems to be that I am feeling like my life has no meaning and my days are useless. It happens more often than I really want to admit to.
Watching people leave you behind can be a devastating feeling. There is such a sense of helplessness involved. I think that is when God is pointing us in new directions.
There are still new friends to be made. New ways to find meaning. New ways to feel useful. They may not be what we thought we’d be doing – or even what we want to be doing – but if God is leading us, then we are going in the right direction.
We can choose to “stay stuck” looking at the losses – or we can look to the future and begin to reach out to others who are in pain. Sometimes just listening to someone helps them beyond measure. And it helps us as well. A phone call – a card – finding new friends online – are all – as the T.V. commercial touts – priceless.
Father God, help us not to get stuck in our losses, but to come to a place where we can look beyond them and see what new things are ahead of us. Saying “goodbye” is never easy. Help us to look forward to the next “hello. Amen and amen.
From the archives