Friendships are a difficult thing when you have a chronic illness . Especially when you are surrounded by people who are “normal.” It is a struggle to balance the desire to share what life is like for you and the desire to avoid appearing to be a complainer or a whiner or even worse, a faker. The more I live here at college, the more this becomes a struggle.
I’ve made friends, sure. There are people who I can talk to, but it seems that all of the friendships are superficial. Nothing really goes beyond “how are you” and the obligatory response of “okay.”
I want something more, something deeper. I’m not going to lie, it isn’t the fault of the people I meet, I’ll accept some of the blame. I wear a mask to keep them out. They don’t try to remove it. We all go about our lives happily as if nothing were wrong because no one wants to be uncomfortable. I don’t want to be vulnerable and they don’t want to pry.
It is easy to go through our lives and not let others in to see our vulnerability. It is easy to lead others to believe we are strong when we are weak, but when we do, are we a reflection of God’s strength? When we allow our weaknesses to show through, then we can rely on God and allow His strength to show through.
So, maybe the next time I’m hurting and struggling and someone asks how I am, I should respond with “can you pray for me” and reach out with a little trust, a little faith, and trust God’s strength protect me.