"I'm praying for you and your family."
Nothing in this world eases our loneliness, or eases our pain like those words when we hear them. We might be looking into someone's eyes. Or hearing his or her voice on the phone. Or reading those wonderful words in an email or text message.
But the result is the same: we feel Warm, Safe - Loved! At some level we know the truth that we are connected to the rest of the human race.
When we are in pain or stress of any kind, - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual - we feel absolutely isolated. No one else can understand what we are going through, we think. And it's true - no one else CAN understand at the deepest level because it's US and OUR pain and situation. it's individual.
But we soon discover that, even if they don't completely understand, others, like relatives and friends, even co-workers, - CARE. And that is what is most important for us - the caring. They might put their feet in their mouths sometimes, or offer useless advice sometimes, - but we matter to them. They ask us how we're doing. Cards arrive in the mail. Maybe a casserole on our doorstep. A joke or special message for us gets posted on Facebook.
And, over and over, people promise to send prayers and energy our way. And we feel those prayers and that energy lifting us. We don't know HOW it works. But we know THAT it works. We know that we are being held safely in other peoples' hearts and souls, the most wonderful places in the world. Even if we are physically apart from them, the people in our lives continue to think of us with love. They miss us. They remember we exist.
Being connected to others eases our stress, elevates our mood, frees us from emotional paralysis. Many times I have been exhausted and/or depressed and dreaded going to a social event or even a Church service. I've even complained in the car to my husband on the way there. Then I've entered a building and been greeted with a smile, a hug, a kiss, a "How are you?" or later "I'm praying for you" and my mood has undergone an abrupt reversal. I've relaxed, felt energized and alive again, able to continue just to "be." After many such occurrences I've realized that often when I want to stay home alone, it's the worst possible thing I could do.
The great poet John Donne, wrote:
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main..."
St. Paul speaks in similar words when he speaks of us as belonging to the Body of Christ: "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body....and we were all given to drink of one Spirit....If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy." (1 Corinthians 12).
The greatest stress reducer, blood pressure reducer, anxiety reducer - is knowing and resting in the knowledge that we continually rest in the greatest heart of all - the Heart of God. Everything has its being because it was willed into existence by God. Everything continues in being because God's thought holds it in existence. We continue to exist because of God's holding us close in love, care, and concern. We rest most deeply, most purely, most perfectly when we rest in the heart of the One Who loved us into existence and will forever embrace us there.
As Julian of Norwich, that great Lady of prayer says
"HE (GOD) IS OUR TRUE REPOSE."