My dad has always taught me that the one thing in life that is supposed to bring people the sense of stability is family. I have treasured this and have always gone to my family when I need to be reminded of where I am grounded and where I can find stability in a spinning rollercoaster of a world.However, I am aware that it is all too often that families are the thing that people try to escape from rather than escape to, and this tears at me.
I am an out of state student, and moving to California meant that I was moving to a place where I didn’t know anyone and where my family was far from me. Although it is easy to get in touch with people with the technology we have today, it did give me a glimpse into what it is like to be separated from family.
When I was at church this Sunday, I was visiting with an older woman, about 75 years old. She was in a wheel chair and was sitting in the foyer rather than in the chapel because she needs to have quick access to someone that can help her if she begins to have a seizure. She told me all about her health problems that began about 10 years ago, and told me that for the most part, her family abandoned her because it was too much for them to support her. Although my tiny glimpse of being away from my family (and willingly, at that) does not compare to her family choosing to be absent in her time of need, I felt an incredible amount of empathy for her. Being without family is hard in any time, especially when things in life are changing. When it feels like life is on shaky ground and there is nothing stable to hold on to, it is crucial to have people there to walk beside you.
I was moved to tears as Elaine told her story, and because of Elaine, I joined the visitation team at my church, and now I visit her or talk to her every couple of weeks. We all need people to care about us; it is human nature. I am glad that I met Elaine and was able to feel her pain with her, because I met a new friend that I may love like family.