As most of you know, my 38 year old daughter has been missing for awhile. She suffers from an anxiety disorder so I am worried about her. We have done everything we can at this point, but daily I am working with the authorities to follow any clues.
So many people have reached out to me to give their love and support, and I have to absorb those in small doses so as not to spend my full waking hours in such a place of distress. So to start, thank you, and please understand if I am not overly communicative about this right now. It’s wonderful to be so loved.
In the course of a few conversations, however, it has amazed me at how many others suffer from similar situations and the abysmal grief of parenting a child who struggles, at whatever age. A universal situation way beyond my imagination. This experience with my daughter has opened for others a comfort level to share their stories of loss, or unrelenting worry, to bring us together as fellow sufferers. Yes, I guess misery does love company.
One of my oldest, dearest friends from childhood just opened up to me yesterday about a situation with her daughter that she had never shared with me. My oldest dearest friend. Only the vulnerability of sharing my loss with her brought forth her comfort to share the darkness she and her family have been fighting, about a daughter who she always described as seemingly perfect. To now learn the truth was so shocking, a wake up call to my friend and I to rekindle the true closeness we once shared, to be there for each other.
Even at my doctor’s appointment this week, the mere mention of my situation brought forth a long conversation about my doctor’s life as he, too, felt comfortable sharing the darkness. Not to mention our oneg last Shabbat which was so moving in bringing community love and support as so many related their own personal walks down this road.
Whether it’s a missing daughter, or any of the other personal challenges shared so openly, the message is clear that life’s journey brings all of us, to some degree, times of intense suffering. Pain and loss are part of the human condition, part of the walk, designed to grow us.
My times of immutable strength and place of hope are in my conversations with HaShem, who has given me a multitude of signs that my daughter is safe. I must rest in that comfort. The chosen times I can discuss the situation with my loved ones offering support also bring comfort.
I did not anticipate that the sharing of my time of trouble would knock down so many walls of protection, and in some cases, deception, not only of others but in some sense, of ourselves, as well. Despite attempts to build walls around our inner worlds of suffering, true closeness with others can only result when we are transparent with each other about our hardships. As Facebook shows, sharing joyful times is the norm. Sharing pain is not.
Healing of our own inner wounds cannot occur if we live lives hiding the pain from those who love us. That doesn’t mean we want to always talk about it. Sometimes, when the pain is fresh, just the opposite is true. We can’t talk about it much at all, just in limited doses when feeling strong enough emotionally. Sharing our truths with our closest loved ones at the right times, however, rather than hiding the darkness is part of the road to facing and accepting our lives’ truths which is the first step toward healing.
No one loves joyful times and happy occasions more than I do. Yet sharing the reality of the flipside is equally, if not more important. Yeshua was brought into this world not only to take our sufferings in a spiritual sense, but also, to cushion the blow as we live the realities, for these are the hard times to bear, often beyond human capacity. Without our faith in Him to at least rationally, and spiritually, lay the burden at His feet, these experiences would be emotionally unendurable.
By our willingness to connect deeply with our brothers and sisters during these times, we actually grow not only closer to each other, but also, closer to Him. We are reminded of our universal brokenness, enabling us to more deeply fall at His feet as we recognize that all hope is in Him.