2018-08-31 / Chaplain's News

Intolerable suffering

Chaplain (Maj.) Matthew Sprecher
Fort Gordon Family Life Chaplain

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Humans are designed by their creator to be social creatures. We draw comfort, strength, joy, and courage from our secure connection to trusted friends and family.

Nowhere is this more evident than when confronted with the trials and misfortunes of life. In time, everyone faces them. In times of distress, our hearts yearn for someone we can trust, who will be there for us no matter what.

In stark contrast to our vital need for secure connection is the frequently present habit of isolation. Too often our pride or fear cause us to withdraw from others when we are at our point of greatest need.

We do not want to be seen as weak, so we do not seek help from others. We fear being vulnerable, so we do not let others see our true self.

We hide our grief, fear, and pain from those who long to help. Humans are designed for connection. Isolating ourselves during times of crisis or stress is emotionally destructive.

An old Irish saying observes “suffering is a given; suffering alone is intolerable.” We long to have someone to support us in our distress.

Whether you are personally going through crisis and stress, or you are watching a friend or loved one experience problems, know that you do not have to do it alone. In times of stress, find a friend, and be a friend.

Do not be afraid to ask for help, and do not be afraid to offer help. Unfortunately, often those who need help the most do not ask for help because they are waiting for someone to care enough to offer help. And frequently those who notice others struggling do not offer to help because they are waiting to be asked.

You do not need to have all the answers in order to help someone through a difficult time. What people need most is someone to listen with empathy, support them faithfully, and help them find additional help when needed.

Return to top