What a refreshing, relieving feeling I have experienced when I hear someone share a hurt, a sorrow, a struggle, a fear, a secret with which I could identify whole-heartedly. “You too? I thought I was the only one…”
My new friend Lanny is a patient with AML who I met when i came into the hospital the very first time. He was in for his first round of Chemo and came in to my room to say, “I know how you feel.” And he truly did. The shock of the sudden revelation of this disease is just the first thing I needed someone to identify with. He “knew” that feeling. He happens to be in here now for his 3rd round of Chemo and is down the hall from me. We sat and talked about all the weirdness of having this disease, discussed all our symptoms and the inner peace we have been given about all of it. While we were chatting, our nurse friend Gabby came in and was delighted to see us chatting. Lanny basically said, “no one else understands it the way someone else with AML does. Even you, who work with cancer patients everyday, can’t identify with exactly how we feel or what we are going through.” He agreed and so do I. We all need someone to really “hear” us with first hand experience. That’s just another reason why I love support groups models and what I long to see in churches. Our “symptoms” may not all be the same, but our diagnosis is: we are all sinners needing God’s grace and forgiveness. Period.
Here is the best news though: Hebrews 4 and 5 tells us that because of the resurrection of Jesus, “we do not have a High Priest ( Jesus, who goes to God on our behalf to cleanse us from sin) who is unable to sympathized with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, JUST AS WE ARE-yet was without sin….We don’t have to feel alone or weird or misunderstood. God sent his son to EARTH to die and be resurrected so that he could say, “YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE.”