What makes you feel less alone?

A Monday Meditation for July 12, 2021

St. Peter’s-

For the "I’ve Been Meaning to Ask" series this summer, our Monday Meditations will be written by various members of the St. Peter’s community.   


This week, David Hoff answers the questions "What makes you feel less alone?" and "When have you asked for help?" 

When I was approached with this theme my first reaction was, “this is a hard one for me and is going to put me way outside my comfort zone… but some of the best things happen outside my comfort zone, so let’s go for it!”


If I think about what I need, things generally falls into two categories.  There are the things that I think I need, and there are the things that I actually need.  The hard part is telling which category things fall into.


When you feel lonely, what makes you feel less alone?


In a past life, I worked as a YMCA Summertime Program Director.  I used to tell my campers, 


“When there are times that you are feeling down or like no one understands you, walk outside and look at the stars.  Those same stars are shining here at camp, and on all of your friends that you have made this week.  Even if you can’t see the stars, you still know they are there and you can feel that connection”


I didn’t realize how much that would help me later in life at the time, but when I feel lonely, I still do that very thing to this day.  Sometimes it is easy to think I am going through hard times alone, but when I remember to look at the stars, it puts it all in a bit more perspective.  There are people out there going through health struggles, dealing with loss, trying to find a way in this world.  It does not diminish what I am going through, however it is a connection to others going through the same thing.


When in your life have you asked for help? Did you get the help you needed?


As I have shared in the past, for a number of years I was dealing with some complicated health issues.  What I thought I needed was for people to leave me alone and to give me space to just focus on myself.  I was trying to just make myself be better, to do better, to try harder.  I thought if I just tried hard enough I could get through it all on my own. I had a very good friend at the time who was bound and determined not to let me do it on my own.  


She encouraged me to share the burden, to accept her help. This put me way outside my comfort zone, and that was difficult for me.  Soon I realized that things I had been trying to do for years were much more manageable with a second person on my side. She encouraged me to ask my doctor for more help and to share how difficult things had been.  


This led to my doctor getting me in touch with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I ended up getting connected with a doctor that specialized in my type of condition and I moved up to Rochester in order to continue my care.  


This simple connection with a friend taught me that it is ok to ask for help.  I recalled my days at my summer camp, and how I used to talk about how important connections with people were.  I had lost sight of the fact that I had stopped building connections when I was trying to do it all myself.


Once I realized this,  I purposely started building connections and great things started happening.  My health improved, I met my husband, I went back to school, I found the UCC church, I got back into making music and I got two of my pets through connections I otherwise would not have made.


To answer the question “what do I need”. I need people to pull me outside my comfort zone. I need to intentionally build meaningful connections.  I need to remember that it is ok to ask for help, and that it is also ok to accept the help others are able to give. Most importantly, I need to remember that what I think I need and what I actually need are not always the same thing.

David Hoff

Education Team Leader