Suffering Does Not Isolate You. Suffering Is Your Bridge….
My experience has taught me that the MOST important time to help others is when we are struggling with our personal demons. No matter how small the gesture may be or how little we can do because of our pain.
For years, even after I started making sincere efforts to stay sober and stable, spirituality was the missing ingredient in my current recipe for thriving, despite my Bipolar Disorder and addictions. And while love is the lifeblood of a spiritual life, service to others acts as the veins and arteries.
James Baldwin understood:
“For a long time, you think… ‘no one has ever suffered the way I’ve suffered’…
And then you realize… that your suffering does not isolate you… that your suffering is your bridge.”
Suffering is indeed a bridge. It’s the one absolute universal connection we have with every human being. No one gets out of this life without suffering. We can all empathize with one another and share our experience, strength, and hope.
Helping fellow sufferers not only connects us to them, fostering love and mutual aid; it also gets us out of self. The demons of loneliness, isolation, and self-pity scurry like roaches hit by a flood of light when we make the effort to be of service and grasp the hand of another human being.
And perhaps the most rewarding part of serving and helping is that our brains release oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin when we extend ourselves for another human being. Triple jackpot!
When I found spiritual recovery in AA several years ago, acts of service were strongly suggested by my sponsor from day one. I quickly learned that being of service is a great tool to attain and maintain spiritual fitness and sobriety.
Which, of course, made me a stronger person.
With a need and responsibility to help others.
Just as I had been helped.