I have had many friendships though the years from school, church, work and neighbors, but the growing network of friendships born out of being ill is very new to me. Through the years, being sick has meant that I cannot keep up with friends and activities and in turn, it has slowly led to isolation. No one is to blame, it just happened.
This past year, I have enjoyed and been blessed to meet other women who are living a life of chronic illness. I thought it interesting that so many had Lyme disease but God has a way of meeting our needs before we know we have them. Now that I am facing Lyme myself, I have this lovely group of women who know the road I am walking and have shown me how to face it with faith, grace and dignity. Their words of hope and joy inspire me to look beyond my condition and refocus my attention on others and away from me.
It’s easy to bemoan social media as it wastes so much of our time, but for those of us who feel trapped in our homes and alone, it has become a lifesaver of sorts. What a blessing to live during a time when we can reach out, gain friendships and find common ground with people we have never physically met. God created us for relationships and it is so important to our health to stay connected with others on personal levels. I have missed this for so long. We pray for each other and lift each others spirits when one is falling. We can offer a “shoulder” to cry on, a “hug” for comfort and celebrate life’s victories, even when we are confined to our home. With all the media platform choices, we should never settle for isolation. These friendships strengthen me and spur me to get up and keep going forward. My prayer is that I can learn to be as good a friend to them as they have been to me.