Misery Loves Company…as do the rest of us

I took a brief hiatus from my blogging this week. 2017 has come in with a crashing of symbols and disharmony and, quite frankly, I’m ready to start over fresh.

Over the weekend, I got a text from my dad. My brother was in the hospital. And he’s fine now and aside from Donald Trump, my life is slowly falling back into place. But ironing out the kinks is proving to be tougher than I thought. The wrinkles are determined. I’m struggling, because this year has been an odd juxtaposition from the start; ripe with little moments of beauty tucked within the fluttering pages of my life’s manuscript, which closely resembles the screenplay for a series of unfortunate events.

And so I reflect back on this weekend. On my brother, lying in the hospital bed, tucked into an oversized, paper thin gown, his face sallow and tired, his chest wracked with hollow, empty coughs, the fluid constricting his lungs. He’s trying to sleep, and the nervous energy from my over caffeinated body is pulsing out in waves. He’s assured me, for the thirtieth time, that there’s nothing I can do for him, despite my aching desire to alleviate his suffering. So I take a walk.

The hallways are empty, and my heels tap along the tiles, echoing loudly within the confines of profound silence. Television sets murmur quietly, their droning tones and flickering lights igniting little seizurous patterns in the boundaries of my ocular pathways. A nurse stops to tell me I look like Taylor Swift; I stop and cringe, then smile and accept the compliment.  Everything smells sterile; the fragrance of alcohol is sharp, assaulting my senses.

And I think of the lonely old man a few rooms down, tucked into the back corner of the surgical ward, forgotten. I knock on his door, gently, quietly, unwilling to disturb his reveries but hoping that he shares my loneliness. And he does.

The remnants of his meal sit discarded on the tray table, half of what they claim is a ham sandwich on questionable wheat bread beside the dwindling reservoir that was once a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

“We have good food, for a hospital,” the orderly tells me. But they always say this, and so I am always skeptical.

And the man is lonely, counting the raindrops on the window and the little specks that line the tiled ceiling. There’s no one left to love him and, even worse, there’s no one left for him to love. But we talk for a while and it isn’t anything magical or life altering you’d be bored to tears by the droning of our voices nothing happened there that day. I wish I could tell you we shared stories of grandeur and awe; but there was no divine intervention, the clouds did not open and the sun did not shine. But we shared a moment. In the chaos of the world in the dizzying pace of life we took a minute and slowed down the frantic spinning of the earth. Just a moment.

And it was an adventure into the uncomfortable. It was an adventure into these beautifully forged bonds that connect each one of us through the good and through the bad. Reminding us that we are all tied together by the same string that wraps around this earth. None of us are so different that we cannot appreciate the existence that we share.

Talk to strangers. Open yourself up to love, to connectivity, to relationship. Now, more than ever, you are called to step your foot over the threshold and enter into the chamber of the heart. Do not linger in the hallways; do not pause at the door. Do not hesitate. But enter. Because adventure is never far away; sometimes, it’s just right down the hall.

42 thoughts on “Misery Loves Company…as do the rest of us

  1. I read this because Eliza. I’m happy I did. I never had the courage to knock on a lonely door like that. I wish I did, but thank you for telling me how, and showing. That man was lucky, blessed. Maybe we all can be angels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We all have it in us. Some of us have to dig deeper than others, I know I do. But I’m convinced that if we try at love as hard as we try at work and school and life, we’ll get there.
      Thank you for the read. Have a beautiful week. ❤

      Like

  2. It’s a beautiful post, the emotions captured perfectly, and a great lesson that may serve us well in getting through the morass of issues that currently set many of us at odds with those around us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A blend of emotions mixed with really inspiring thoughts. You’ve put it all together so amazingly. We see and hear a lot about how unique and different we all are but the words you’ve used to appreciate and yet challenge that uniqueness was wonderful.”None of us are so different that we cannot appreciate the existence that we share.” Great post ma’am. Have a nice day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree. We all crave for that human connection. And that sometimes we need not look any farther. Sometimes we are the one’s searching for that connection yet at times others find it thru us. Any way around, it almost always, is comforting.
    My prayers for the fast recovery of your brother and for your strength and resolve in facing your personal battles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eliza, I adore you for so many reasons. This is such a beautiful post. Submit it to the NY Times! It is what everyone needs to hear and it is so beautifully and eloquently said. Only love for each other can iron out these wrinkles. It takes real courage to enter a strangers hospital room and be together in the uncertainty. More and more this week I’ve struggling with ‘what to do’ and slowly it has been coming to me that it is much more complicated and difficult than political action (although there is that to be done) but what I am thinking will bring about real change is when I can be vulnerable in the uncertainty with a stranger. It is these quiet, individual acts of connection and community that can heal us all. This is the work of a courageous heart. Thank you for shining a light. Love, Catherine

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve put this together so beautifully that for a moment I thought it was a chapter of your novel.. It’s so true.. we rush past the small and yet very important connections without even noticing them. I’m so sorry your brother is ill and hope he is improving.. x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Some years ago I had to go in for a surgery, and was all alone. lying there on the table waiting to be knocked out, I really felt my isolation and that scared me more than the surgery. Then, the young male nurse took my hand. That’s all. Then the anesthesia took me away. But I will always remember his kind smile and the feel of his hand holding mine. What a difference that made! I’m so glad you thought to stop in to visit the lonely man. And I’m so glad your brother is recovered!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ma’am, you are a very good writer, you are a very good read. I look forward to reading more of your work if we are each blessed to have a future. I hope you don’t mind but I would like to reblog this article for you. Also, I hope that your brother is doing much better now. I hope that you and all of your loved ones are having a good weekend.—ted

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is so beautifully expressed, Shayleene – we have to allow ourselves to truly connect with each other again. Staying in our own truth while holding the space for someone else to express their truthful experience, without judgment or conditions. I just read Sebastian Junger’s book “Tribe” which speaks to our primal need to deeply connect with others and feel a sense of belonging. Unfortunately, these days, we only seem to get this experience when disaster strikes and we have no choice but to rely on each other for dear life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m going to have to get that book. Sounds right up my alley. And you’re right; these connections happen when we’re vulnerable, and we should practice at making them happen at all times. I hadn’t thought of that.
      Thank you for your words (and your book Rec!)
      Have an awesome week! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I LOVE this…especially the last two paragraphs. We need connection, we thrive on connection, and the more connection we achieve…the more profound and rich life we can live. Thank you for that wonderful reminder, and for your loving spirit that shines through your words.

    Liked by 1 person

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