As someone who has dealt with a chronic debilitating illness for more than twelve years now, I should never be surprised at where I find blessings I did not expect. I just had the wonderful experience of talking with someone undergoing immunotherapy for treatment of cancer. I know it weakens one and I tried to call and just speak to his wife, but because I had sent him a card recently, he heard my name and insisted on speaking with me. He spent more time thanking me for the card than it did for me to write the note I sent. That is just the man he is and why I had avoided calling him directly, because he is to kind not to talk even if he does not feel able. I have not learned that grace yet, but I pray that I will and that I will find a way to make people feel better after talking with me than I feel at that time.
While this person is putting up a valiant fight, he knows that there are no guarantees and that is OK because his faith will be there even if his body fails him. As someone who attempts to comfort and sometimes needs comforting, I read something that really stuck with me a few days ago. We should not expect everyone who finds a major illness, or other obstacle in their path, to become an olympic hurdler. Almost everyone loves life and does not want to have it taken away from them when they feel like they had so much left to give and do. However, we are not all endowed with the same ability to put on a brave face and move forward at full force. We should also realize that the brave face we see is often not what is lurking just below the surface. I know because I try to always do the same except with those closest to me. It has been stated ad nauseam that telling anyone we know to be ill, “but, you look so good” is not helpful and may, in fact, be very hurtful. There is not only a war going on in their body, but also in their mind and the guilt that comes along with feeling like less than whole person is one of those internal mind battles we face every day. To that individual, “but, you look so good”, may say to them that there is some doubt in your mind as to their real illness. I know that is not what anyone means, but our words are interpreted by other’s brains in very different ways.
I guess I would summarize by saying that we should always be very aware of our words and maybe more so to someone who is ill. ” I would love to think that I could hold up as well in similar circumstances” may be so much more positive and remove any statement that speaks directly to a person’s appearance or feeling. Also, reach out to those who you know are hurting or ill if you are in need of a blessing. more times than not, you will receive much more than the effort you are giving. I am certainly glad that I did today and received far more than I was giving. Thank you!