My mother was in hospital with pancreatitis. She deteriorated quite quickly, and then developed pneumonia, and for a few looooong days we waited for updates every hour, waiting to find out whether we would have to travel up to see her and say our goodbyes. It was that bad.
My sisters, who live closer but still a few hours away, went to see her on the weekend. When she heard my niece make a sound, she sat up for the first time all week, and she's been slowly improving since then. About half an hour ago my sister txt me to say that mum is sitting up in a chair and she could talk to her on the phone. I'm amazed. We really thought she might die just a few days ago.
It just goes to show, we were not designed to live alone. We are built for relationships. We function well only with love and support from others.
I am a writer. I like my own company. I spend as much time as possible alone, and often resent situations where I am forced to be in the company of others for too long. I struggle with church sometimes because it requires effort on my part to interact with other human beings. I chose to study by distance learning so I could do it alone at home.
But I know I'm supposed to reach out to others, and let others in. And hearing how much my mother has improved in the last couple of days, it just goes to show that just simply having people around, who love you and want to see you do well, is vital to our own survival. To be healthy, we need to be loved and cared for, no matter how old we are or how far we've come.
The Bible has over 200 verses relating to fellowship.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 - encourage one another and build each other up
Galatians 6:2 - bear one another's burdens
Hebrews 10:24-25 - And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another
God wants us to know how important it is to be in relationship with others. To love and be loved. To be part of a family, whatever that looks like, that will be by your side when you are not ok.
This is why The Sisterhood works, why it grew from a small idea to a huge gathering of women in a matter of weeks. It's why when the earthquakes shook Christchurch the number of people attending church services increased. It's why Social Media is so popular, why it's almost necessary to have your own Facebook or Twitter account, if not both, in order to stay in touch.
I'm rambling a bit. I'm blown away with relief, after spending days on edge, wondering if she would make it or not. And then the sight and sound of her six month old grand-daughter; the touch of a hand; the knowing that there are people who loved her to enough to sit by her side as she drifted in and out of consciousness - somehow was enough to bring her back to health.
She still has a way to go in her recovery. But I'm a lot less worried, I no longer doubt whether or not she'll make it to the end of today. I'm sure she'll recover, and might even be back home by the weekend. (Fingers crossed.)
I still have a way to go too. I need to practice friendship, letting others in, before I can come to a place where I'm not forcing myself to be around people. It is natural, apparently, to want to be connected to people, to build each other up and to be built up. But for me, so often, it doesn't feel natural. I need to get back to living the way I was designed to live. And if I reflect, even for a moment, on these past five years since we moved down here, away from all our friends and family, and on how isolated and alone we have felt since making the move, I know that it is all true. If I am to survive, if I am to be completely healthy again, I have my own recovery to do.