Sarah Lysne: The joy of belonging to a group

Published 6:20 pm Friday, October 29, 2021

It is so easy to become isolated during these COVID times. Especially for people like me, who are not driving anymore. But, I found it is essential for my well being to belong to groups. I belong to a church group and two other fun groups in town. I can’t move quickly because of the stiffness caused by my ALS, but each time I put in the effort into getting ready to go to one of my groups, I am grateful that I did. Belonging to a group gives you a sense of balance in your life. It is refreshing to know you are accepted by all of these people and that you are loved.

Sometimes, the best thing to do when you are trying to decide what kind of group to join is to think about the things that you have a passion for. What are the things that you are most interested about in life or that you want to learn more about? I have been in so many groups in my life, from Girl Scouts to church bible studies and writing groups. I have enjoyed many of these groups over the years. The largest group that I have ever been a part of is my High School class. For larger groups, like my graduating class, I have found I am able to stay in touch with them by talking on the phone. It has been a blessing in disguise that it is difficult for me to text. Texting, for me, is very tiring and I often just call the person back when they send me a text message. I do preface the call with “I am going to make this short” because most people who know me, know I like to talk a lot and I don’t want them to think that I will take up a lot of their time if they don’t have time at the moment.

Recently, some of my High School classmates have been reaching out to me and visiting me. Sometimes we visit on the phone, sometimes we visit in person, but it has been fun feeling part of this group again after so many years of not staying in touch. Last week, one of my High School classmates contacted me on Facebook. I told her that I wasn’t able to type or text very much, so I suggested that we talk on the phone. We talked for 45 minutes and caught each other up on our lives. I am so grateful for that conversation, and I hope to reach out to more people in that way.

If you think that there is a group that you would like to become involved with, don’t be shy about joining. Many times we have excuses, we think we won’t be accepted, or we feel inadequate. I have a lot of reasons that I could stop going to my groups, but I won’t stop, because being in the groups are more important to me than dwelling on my physical disabilities and if you find the right group, you know that those things won’t matter anyway. Remember, If you try a group and It doesn’t work, it might be like my suggestion about shopping for a therapist. You might have to shop for a group that you really enjoy being a part of. Don’t give up too early. So, my wish for you today is that you can find a group of two or three, or more, that you could belong to so that your life is richer and fuller, and you are able to share your gifts with others.