More often than not, I’m referring to the value of a healthy support system for those of us with MS. I can honestly credit that support system (family, church, MS friends) with enriching my life and mitigating the effects of MS.
You’d think that Jesus, what with being God’s Son and all, wouldn’t be so needy. Yet when the most difficult part of His life, His passion, drew near, He wanted His closest friends at hand. This came home to me recently as I continued my crawl through St. Mark’s story of Jesus’s life. Some things I learned:
- Jesus wasn’t afraid to let His guard down in front of His friends. Keeping up a false facade was not the core value to Him that it is to so many of us.
- He sought help in the form of their presence and prayer. The fact that they all let Him down doesn’t detract from the gesture.
- Sorrow isn’t a sign of weakness. Jesus was no less Himself during His grief.
- Nor is allowing that sorrow to be seen a sign of weakness. The weak are those who are afraid to reveal themselves to others.
- He did, however, keep it within His small circle of friends. Not everyone needs to be party to our pain. Somehow, I doubt Jesus would follow the current practice of laying out all our woes in public, even if He had access to social media. Can you see it? A photo of Him praying among the Gethsemane olive trees on Instagram or a tweet about what a bad day He was having. I don’t think so.
This is why I’m continually beating the drum for support groups. It gives us a chance to be ourselves and let our guards down among people of like life situation. Even better, it lets us be there for others in their times of distress.
We don’t want or intend for those gatherings to be constant gripe sessions, filled with moaning and groaning and “woe is me”. To everything there is a season. As St. Paul told his Roman friends, we rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
Hopefully the times of rejoicing outnumber the others.