Henry David Thoreau said,”If misery loves company, misery has company enough.”
I’m not sure that misery does love company. My misery does not. My misery loves solitude. I love to make fun of the old Hee Haw song. “Gloom, despair, and agony on me, Aaaaah. Deep, dark depressioning sense of misery, Aaaaah. If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all, Aaaaah. Gloom, despair, and agony on me!”
And yet, if we can, in our pain, reach out to someone else – another human being who has or is experiencing our pain – we may begin to find something other than pain. We may begin to find joy.
There was a night at the Cancer Clinic that was the best night we’d had there. One of the best nights we’d had anywhere, ever. And the only miserable part about it was that we could have been having nights like that for 3 weeks, but in our self inflicted retreat, in our pity party, we missed out on the joy.
That night we had dinner with Liz and Gary to celebrate their home-going. Liz’s sonogram showed a tumor that had originally swelled – like Larry’s – and had shrunk so much as to amaze even the doctors!!! Amen to answered prayer! We were joined by Angela and Bob. Bob was there for treatments as well, and he was a fount of information. They were going home the next day as well. Wonderful friends that we’ve missed out on a week of – and they were just down the hall from us, 2 doors. Also at the table were the darling couple from Ireland, Mary and Padraic. I could listen to them for hours, their accent is musical. Even their light-hearted bantering was a ballad to my ears. Padraic had a rough go of it, but he was ready to go home in week or so. We would get to enjoy them for a few more days yet. And Peter, from Holland, whose wife was bedridden. Lizzy was fighting bone cancer. Peter would drive from Holland to Germany to be with her every other week and then back again to work for a week.
As we all shared our stories of pain and “misery”, our dissatisfaction with the medical treatments available to us in our own countries, and our determination to achieve healing for the ones we love so dearly….. misery didn’t join company. Pain found strength in company, struggles shared became a bond, and friendship bubbled up in laughter. We found joy. Brought together in the common bond of searching for the treatments that would bring our bodies back to the power God created them to have. The power to fight off diseases. In the midst of what should be sorrow and fear, we found joy, strength and friendship.
We shared and laughed until the dining room closed down. Then we moved to the living room area, a room I’d never seen used before. We rearranged the furniture to have enough room for all of us to sit and stayed until eyelids began to droop. Much like children around a campfire, we’d found a common ground and the moment was too precious let go.
There are 310,612,207 people in the U.S. according to the last census, and 6,878,804,870 in the world; and yet with all those people so many of us still feel so very alone, so very lonely.
If misery loves company, then may that company find great joy in the common ground shared.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”