It's a lonely place, space.
I'm not sure which is worse; calling out in pain to the universe only to have the universe ignore you, or to be calling out to a stricken fellow ship, knowing your communication is bouncing off the hull – its occupants unaware of your desire to comfort and to help.
Each of us seems to be at times an isolated craft, drifting helplessly in the blackness of infinity. We can see other spaceships out there. We can see populated planets. Sometimes it seems that we are the only ones with non-functioning communication equipment. We are alone. So alone. Everyone and everything has deserted us – even God Himself (for those of us who would claim a religious faith).
Then again, sometimes we refuse to listen.
Those of us who have pets know that if our beloved cat or dog feels unwell, they will hide away with their pain. We have to physically drag them out from under the bed or from behind the sofa and force them to the vet. Their instinct is to retreat from the world with just their pain for company.
And – I sometimes do that myself. I retreat to my writing and my books. I have friends who do just that too. I send words of hope and comfort but those words are rejected with a snarl. Just like my cat when he is ill, my friends spit and claw at me when I try to help. Except they use words, which hurt more. And their withdrawal is much further and more complete than to a hiding place on top of the kitchen cupboard. It feels as if they have withdrawn to the Garnet Star in Cassiopeia, about 5,000 light years away.
It hurts me that they are dealing with their pain alone when they don't have to.
"But I don't want you to suffer too," said one such friend recently.
"Too late. When you hurt, I hurt. Please let me help."
"You can't help. No one can help. Go away."
It has taken me many, many years to stop withdrawing when I hurt; when the blackness comes. It has taken time after time of going through the pain to understand that my friends actually want to stand by me. It has taken courage to open up and accept help. And it has taken a lot of understanding to realise that I need to train my friends in the way they can help.
Everyone is different. My friend on Garnet Star needs to train me. And they can't train me while they are hurting. I must be patient and wait for their return to earth.
In the meantime I will continue to send messages of love and support.
And hope that some of them at least, get through.
And – for those of you who now have the title of this blog as your earworm for the day – here is the glorious voice of Karen Carpenter for you – the extended mix as it was the inspiration for this blog: http://bit.ly/15spvBs
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