What? YOU too?
It sounded like a high school girls’ reunion. Raised voices, peals of laughter, chuckles… noise. It was a reunion of sorts but not what you might expect. A few days ago, I attended my second post operative surgeon’s visit. As I hobbled into the building, a lady ahead of me kindly kept the lift door open for me. I went towards her as fast as I could – a painfully slow moving snail, sporting a large blue shoe. As we got inside the lift, I noticed an interesting fact. She too wore an identical shoe. She too had a long pin sticking out of her 2nd toe as I did. We grinned at each other. It was good to meet a kindred spirit.
We went into the waiting room and made ourselves comfortable. Our happy conversation continued. ‘What? You too?’ was of course the basis of our chattering. She’d been operated 2 weeks after me – a feisty happy lady of around 65, with a great sense of humour and a positive attitude. I liked her on the spot. After awhile, she looked ahead and yelled a greeting. I turned my head and saw another lady hobbling towards us very slowly and in some pain. She wore not just one blue shoe but TWO! Both her feet had been operated on. Wow!
They fell on one another with great joy. It was a reunion. They had evidently been operated on at the same time and had been in adjacent rooms in the same hospital. The three of us compared notes on how we’d coped – the high spots, the low spots and all the spots in between. Two others who’d had come to for consultations also joined our exuberant conversation. We three learned ones who had been through it all before had knowing smiles and words of wisdom for them.
We predicted that one lady wouldn’t need an operation for many years yet while the other would need it at once. (Were we right? Of course we were!) The surgeon who walked by at some stage, turned his head in the direction of THE NOISE and couldn’t help smiling when he saw what was going on. I’d been quite nervous before I went in, wondering if the removal of my pins and stitches would be very painful. But you know what? In the unexpectedly interesting time of bonding with 4 other women – all strangers until that day – I didn’t have any time for nerves. There was too much happy reminiscing and sharing going on.
“What? YOU too?” Isn’t that an exciting base to stand on? I have made many friends from such a platform. Sharing ideas that are similar make bright lights go off in our heads, don’t they? Finding those of like mind or those who’ve been through similar experiences link us closely with them. Being able to empathise with another is always great therapy – not just for the one being listened to but also for the one who lends her listening ear. God has made us social creatures and we all need each other.
When my son was little, the shared experience of other Mums made our support group ‘Mum and Me’ a close knit, loving one. We didn’t feel alone in our parenting journey. We had many others who knew exactly what we were talking about. 20 years later we are still close and still interested in the 2 year olds of yesteryear who are now young men and women grown up and merrily abroad in the world.
When I learnt Computer Programming in my twenties – there was much enjoyment in getting together with many fresh young colleagues. Working together till late at night – bouncing off ideas – enjoying the excitement of learning new concepts together. It brought us close. Now, 30 years later, my Radio Shack friends and I still share a special bond. The friendships have lasted.
And then, deeper than all bonds I find, is the fellowship I enjoy with other believers. There’s that special unique spark of joy whenever I meet a fellow Disciple of Jesus. In April 1974 I attended my first YFC camp. My life hasn’t been the same since. The friendships I made with many others who also love, worship and follow the same God I do have forged many a precious link. That was almost 40 years ago. Those unique friendships have held me up and brought much richness into my life.
All of us human beings have shared experiences which bring us closer to one another. How is it then that we also fight and disagree with each other all too easily? Why does being right often take the precedence of nurturing the relationship? Why is it that there is slander and gossip, un-forgiveness or bickering? Misunderstanding and strife; words that hurt; actions that wound?
I wonder if the remedy needed to heal broken relationships would also be ‘What? YOU too”? Think of someone who has wronged you. Perhaps the secret of bridging the chasm of misunderstanding is to make much of the common elements in the friendship and make small the differences.
We are all the same inside. Sometimes lonely. Hurting. Shy. Vulnerable. Scared. Also glad. Confident. Joyful. Sociable. Sensitive. Caring. Often a pickle of emotions. But all of us are made by the same Creator and made in His image.
Perhaps we need to look past our differences? Perhaps we need to grab our shared experiences instead and all else we have in common. If we all did that, what a different world it would be!