Care is a powerful force.
Today is the 30th anniversary of Frank Reed’s release from a form of isolation and social distancing the rest of us can’t imagine. Reed was one of 104 hostages taken in Lebanon between 1982 and 1992. Never knowing quite while he was grabbed, Reed spent 3 1/2 years as a hostage before his release on April 30, 1990.
After his release, he reported, “As far as the food goes that I had, I had adequate food and fresh fruit. I was given an opportunity to bathe, shower. We were given fresh clothes fairly regularly, washed and so on…. I feel I’m well in terms of the basic organs I have in my body — my heart, my liver, my kidneys.” [Source]
We should not read that comment to mean life as a hostage was not so bad. It was. For 3 1/2 years, Reed spent long periods totally blindfolded. For months at a time. Reed was blindfolded, living in complete darkness or chained to a wall and kept in absolute silence.
On one occasion, Reed was moved to another room, and although blindfolded, he could sense others in the room. Yet it was three weeks before he dared peek out to discover he was chained next to Terry Anderson and Tom Sutherland.
Reed also experienced times of beatings, illness, and torment. But Reed said what he felt most was the lack of anyone caring. He said in an interview with Time:
“Nothing I did mattered to anyone. I began to realize how withering it is to exist with not a single expression of caring around [me]. . .. I learned one overriding fact: caring is a powerful force. If no one cares, you are truly alone.”
In these days of COVID-19, we may feel like hostages in our homes, but we are experiencing nothing like what Frank Reed and the other hostages endured. We have freedom to move around. We have a connection to the world through our TVs and the Internet. We are eating well. But without the human connection, we face one potential danger Reed faced:
Does anybody care?
Here are two ways to resolve that question:
- If you feel alone, call someone.
- If you don’t feel alone, call someone. They may feel alone.
Human interaction is the simplest and quickest way to know someone cares and to show someone else that you care. Nothing deep or profound here: just pick up your phone and call someone. A comment on Facebook is not the same as talking to the person. Let them hear in your voice that you care.
- “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (Jas. 1:27).
- “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted” (Eph. 4:32).
- “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another” (1 Thess. 5:11).
As Frank Reed said, “Caring is a powerful force.”
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