Sunday, November 1, 2015

You're Not Alone

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
     Recently I've been working on writing something, not for this blog (although maybe I'll post it here after it's done), that involves talking about my experiences as a patient at CHKD. I'm excited to be doing it, but it is at times difficult to relive memories that I've intentionally showed to the back of my mind because they are so painful to remember. The hard part about those times in my life, and the process of reliving some of them as I write about them, is that there's no one I know who has had those exact experiences. Even if I felt like I had a best friend to talk about it with, they wouldn't be able to relate directly to my situation. But even as I type those words, I remember the many people who were there for me during those times, and who gave me so much encouragement even though they had never been through what I was going through. They helped me know that I wasn't alone.
    Sometimes, when people tell me that I need to use my experiences to help others, I brush it off because I'd rather forget about the past, and I don't always see how hearing about my bad moments could help anyone who's not living through those exact moments. But today, I realized that you don't need to have the same experience as someone else to recognize their pain. We've all had seasons of deep fear, loneliness, and loss. Those are universal feelings that we all have experienced at some point in our lives, even if it's for different reasons. Maybe, like I once did, people just need to hear that they're not alone, and that someone else has felt the way they feel. So, instead of worrying that I will seem like I don't know what I'm talking about because I haven't lived through the same things as everyone else, I can identify with those who are going through painful times of their own, simply because I know what pain feels like. I have felt pain, and survived it, and I remember it. I am qualified to be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, because I have learned how from others who have been those things for me. I can't yet confidently say that I am thankful for all of the bad times I have been through, but I am thankful that they have taught me compassion for others, and that because of them, I can understand the struggles of other people.
Friends, you're not alone. I have felt pain too.

The picture on the left was taken after I had an allergic reaction during a surgery I had several years ago. I asked my parents to take pictures of the whole experience, not knowing that I would have such a traumatic reaction, so that's why this picture was taken. The second picture was taken a few weeks ago, on a random Sunday when everything was fine and I was happy.

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