Why I find it hard to talk about Sickness and Watching

I find it hard to talk about sickness when I’m not the one who is sick. This might come as a surprise. After all, I blog about Watching. I’ve written thousands of words on the topic, and spent hundreds of hours thinking about it.

But I still find it hard.

Talking about sickness is hard because words diminish

I really struggle with this. Every time I open a word document or begin a conversation with someone about a heart issue, I get a familiar ‘tugging’ feeling. It’s sort of like regret.

Because when words express our thoughts and feelings they inevitably reduce them. I love words, but words are not everything. Words only scrape the surface of the huge beast that being is.

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Do you laugh at misfortune?

“Just laugh or you’ll go mad.”

It’s advice I hear in hospital corridors and grocery stores. In this era of ‘political correctness’ there are a surprising number of opportunities to snigger at the antics of dementia patients, our children’s disobedience, or someone else’s misfortune. So where do we draw the line?

Today I’m guest posting over at Paradigm Shift, so head on over to continue reading this post. It addresses an issue which is particularly pertinent to us as Watchers!

How to love our Wider Watchers

It’s easy, for us Watchers, whose lives are so embroiled with the pain of our Loved One, to forget those around us who aren’t Watchers. To overlook the lives of those Wider Watchers – our friends, our relations, our own other loved ones, who watch us as we Watch our suffering Loved Ones.

This is the final post is a short series about Wider Watchers. In Who are the Wider Watchers? We thought about how we are all actually Wider Watchers to some extent, and Wider Watchers (unlike Watchers) have the choice to Watch and to love, and this makes their sacrifice even more beautiful. In When our Wider Watchers hurt us? We pondered what it looks like to respond when Wider Watchers hurt us or our Loved One through their words or actions. In this post, we will discuss what it means to love our Wider Watchers, how to care for those around us who are not Watching as we are.

Why is this important?

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When our Wider Watchers hurt us

Wider Watchers do not have their day to day lives affected by our Loved One’s pain. They have the distance and freedom that at times we envy. They have the choice to involve themselves, and the ability to be a huge blessing and support to us and our Loved One.

But at times they get it wrong.

Wider Watchers hurt us

I think it’s important to acknowledge that either directly or inadvertently, Wider Watchers can make life harder rather than easier.

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Who are our ‘Wider Watchers’?

What about all the rest?

We’ve talked about Loved Ones, those of us who suffer day in and day out from either physical or mental illness. We’ve talked about Watchers, us whose lives are directly affected by their illness, and are called to love them, yet are unable to help them.

But what about those who fit into neither category? What about those who do not battle chronic pain, yet do not do life closely with those who do?

Do we need to address them?

Do they have a place on this blog?

Is their interaction with sickness and pain even slightly comparable to our own?

What if… they are us?

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Sickness and Jesus’ response

We can talk on and on about how we ought to respond to our chronically sick Loved Ones. We can outline what the Right Thing to do is, or make lists of What Not To Do. But in the end, if we claim Jesus as our Saviour and role model, the only thing that really matters is how He responded.

Like father, like son.

Like Saviour, like saved.

Being a Christian is copying Jesus.

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Should we use labels?

 

‘Don’t restrain me.’

‘Labels are limiting.’

‘We shouldn’t put people in boxes.’

‘Everything is fluid.’

‘Categorizing someone stops them reaching their full potential.’

We don’t like labels. Talk to anyone who is in tune with the 21st century about political correctness and common courtesy and phrases like the above will arise.

Yet it has been blatantly obvious from the very beginning that I have fixed a very firm label on myself and others on this blog. It is even in the title!

Continue reading “Should we use labels?”