My friend Linda, teacher to the stars, founded Fone a Friend, which asks celebrities, who are willing, to call sick and lonely children. She told me that of all the famous people Robin Williams set an exceptional example when he went beyond just calling someone and cut short his vacation to invite a lonely disfigured boy to his home to lift up his spirits. Robin extended a lifeline to this lonely child.
I am struck by a rabbi’s take on the game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” When players get stuck for an answer they can use a “lifeline.” In an earlier version of the show, you could call a friend.
In our loneliest and saddest moments, we sometimes overlook the lifelines in real life. So we use a lifeline and ask you the audience. Who are your lifelines? Recall for a moment a time in your life when you lost hope. Maybe you were going through a really tough time and felt like you had hit rock bottom – a setback in your career, a low point in your marriage or relationship; a worry so strong about a child, aging parent or close friend – that you couldn’t see any hope.
Whatever it was, think about the people in your life who became a true lifeline. If you feel that way now just think about the ones who could offer you a lifeline if you would but reach out.
The rabbi played “ask the audience” with his congregation and challenged them to “call a friend.” He said, “Now it’s your turn to “call a friend.” When you have a few moments to yourself, call a friend who came through for you. Tell the people you love how they gave you hope when you needed it most. They may already know this. They may not need your gratitude. They may feel it’s unnecessary. Tell them anyway!
The Jewish mystic and poet envisioned hope as a crimson cord that could reach heaven. So when you are lonely and despair reach out to your friends and family and maybe a total stranger, who were there for you when you felt abandoned and alone!