One of my professors used to tell us that people read to know they aren't alone—that someone, somewhere, may have felt exactly what they are feeling. There's healing in being able to identify it, I think. Finding in the pages of a book, lyrics to a song, a way of understanding how it is you do feel. "I wouldn't have said it like that," or "I didn't have the words for it," but that's it. It's the piano solo, fading chords, the raspy cry in his voice, and you just want to listen to it over and over again. Because that's exactly how it feels.
I've heard it said that we impress people with our so-called perfections, but we connect with people through our faults. And, if only we had the humility to be quick to admit our failure, our misjudgments—our faults. Maybe then there wouldn't be so many hurt, isolated people. G.K. Chesterton once wrote, "We're all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty." I've been thinking about Chesterton's words for months now, reflecting on what it would mean for us to truly be in this together.
There's a photograph I saw weeks ago of a track meet that keeps coming to mind. One sprinter fell down, after twisting her ankle, and couldn't get back up. Even if she had, the close race was over. The photograph was of two girls from the opposite team holding her up and walking her to the finish line. I just keep thinking: that's what it means to be in this together. It means giving up your own success, reaching for the weak, throwing their arm over our shoulder and telling them—time and time again—"come on, let's go." Because when we're all in this together, we grab hold of the hurt—those who have fallen behind, even if it sacrifices first place.
It means stopping to look around you to see who can't keep up. It means encouraging your little brother, asking how your boss' family is doing, taking your mom out to lunch and listening to her talk. It's continually giving of yourself because no man lives to himself alone. We're all in the same boat.