Below is a letter I sent recently to someone I dearly love who I fear is isolating and imploding:
I wanted to reach out to say that I love you, that I am praying for you and that I am concerned for you. I can only imagine how difficult this is for you. I don’t wish to intrude upon your privacy at all, but it is important to me to remind you that I am here and that I will always be glad to see you anytime – whenever you are ready – as often or as rarely as you like.
I do not profess to know how you feel. I know that many times in my life when I was overwhelmed, it made sense to me to withdraw. I worried that I would drag others down with my pain or worry them with my fears. Today I know the truth to be as one of my favorite authors wrote,
“Shared joy is increased, shared sorrow lessened.”
Because I do not presume to know what is true for you, I will share what is true for me:
I know that my life has been filled with both joy and sorrow. I know that it has been worth it because I have known and loved truly amazing people, nearly all of whom have suffered greatly.
I am honored to bear witness to pain. People share their losses, heartbreaks, and traumas with me. I am never burdened nor hurt by their expressions. I seek only to help them release as much as they are able, to make room for the return of joy and peace.
I have spent much of my life forgetting important things, only to be reminded anew.
I have forgotten to be grateful, to care for myself, and to allow others to help me.
I have forgotten to go slowly, how to live with the unknown, and even how to cry.
I have forgotten that I am loved, that God is with me, and that I can be an instrument of His love no matter where I am.
I have forgotten how to pray and I have distanced myself from God and good people when I needed them most.
And so perhaps I am reminding myself now as I tell you that you are loved by many, that God is with you always, and that your example and your love have had a beautiful impact on this world. I and countless others are better for knowing you and being loved by you.
My journey has been far better because you are part of it. My soul is lighter and my wisdom is greater because I have learned from you. It is my need to tell you how much I love and value you.
But this is not goodbye. Far from it. This is an open invitation, without any expectation. I will respect your privacy and not intrude, other than a note from time to time, to remind you that you are amazing, that you are missed. (Being missed is only possible when you are valued).
I truly respect your wishes and so I will only invite you, with no expectation at all, to spend time with me when you care to.