NEARLY fourteen years ago it happened for the first time I recall. Sitting in an AA meeting in Safety Bay, south of Perth, with a bunch of people I barely knew but was trying to get to know.
I was on my own, trying to make a new way, my world turned upside down.
The feeling itself as I recall was fleeting, but it was the lonely realisation that I was on a journey I could have easily resented, and in fact sometimes did.
In that instant, being that the meeting had not quite started, the moment lacked the structure newbies appreciate.
The moment required courage to stand and not run. Yet, because in those situations we cannot run — for social reasons — we stay in the loneliness of the moment, and pray that we will feel better soon.
In that season of life, I experienced the feeling ‘how on earth did I arrive here’ dozens of times — so many times that I got somewhat used to the sort of feeling we never truly get used to. But it’s the kind of alienated loneliness that none of us ever wants to feel. Yet, it truly does us no long-term harm.
And what of those characteristic lowly lonely moments that are typical of the everyday human experience? Not many of us don’t have them. Doesn’t it cause us to have a newfound respect for everyone we encounter? This life calls us to endure so much.
What if we could see the suffering of life in everyone we met. To encounter with compassion and give kindness, all who share this journey of life with us.
Life has the capacity to render our normal a matter of history. Lord, help us be empathetic with those who are asking, right now, or who are about to ask, ‘how on earth did I arrive here?’