For the last 14 hours, my youngest sister has been sitting in the ICU. She’s absolutely miserable, but its definitely a step up from the ‘dying’ category that she would be in had she been admitted to the hospital a day later.
She has been diagnosed with type I diabetes at the ripe old age of eight. The day has been trying for my entire family, and has had an eery way of reminding us of past experiences with my cousin Mason’s heart surgery, my cousin Abby’s bout with cancer, my little brother’s tumor or my little sister’s epilepsy (Or my hangnail, but I digress).
While the experience has obviously been less than enjoyable for everyone, two fascinating things have happened.
(1) An increased closeness is felt within my family, a tighter bond, a desire to support one another and care for one another.
(2) We are being adopted into a family of fellow ‘diabetes sufferers’. Those with grandparents, fathers and siblings who have passed on because of the disease have come out of the woodwork to let us know that they care about us. We have increased in compassion and empathy for others that struggle with diabetes. We feel as if we have entered a pseudo ‘brotherhood of suffering’ where people understand and care about what we are going through.
Here is my observation – The collective pain and suffering of a group is extremely important for creating a strong group. The shared vision of the promised land isn’t as real or tangible as the scars of slavery for the children of Israel. The hope for a championship isn’t as important as pushing through drill after conditioning drill for a team. The camaraderie of Mormon missionaries is strengthened more by the slammed door than the successful convert.
Maybe when trying to move or incite a group to action, the glorious future isn’t as motivating as the painful present. And maybe team goals aren’t as important as team struggles. And maybe more than anything, when we hurt, we don’t want a bandaid, we want someone else to hurt with us.