‘Don’t think of now, focus on the future.’
‘Don’t worry, one day it won’t be like this.’
Short vs. Long term thinking
We have all been given this advice, offered it to others, or proscribed it to ourselves. But surely we have also done the same with the following:
‘Just take one day at a time.’
‘Don’t think of the future, concentrate on the now.’
Yet which stance is right? Which advice should we take?
Our long term is devoid of hope
The problem with the first set of encouragements is that for us Watchers long term is very long term.
The ‘foreseeable future’ is generally what people label as long term. Yet when someone suffers from a chronic illness there is often no hope squatting on the horizon to look forward to.
The ‘foreseeable future’ is not long term enough for us, because our future contains no resolution to focus on. In this sense ‘long term thinking’ is impossible.
We can have no hope that an end will come, that a cure will be formulated.
Our long term is amazing
For Christians of course, we can look at the long long term. Continue reading “Short or long term thinking?”
Perhaps you have been here:
A knock at the door.
It’s a friend, a neighbour. She has just popped over for a chat.
She holds a covered dish:
‘Cooked a bit extra and thought you could do with a home cooked meal’.
She asks how we are, how our Loved One is.
She complains for a while about her work, and how tired she is from the high tea she went to on the weekend. She has another date with friends in a few days but unfortunately it coincides with the birthday of a family member:
‘It’s always the way isn’t it? Everything at once, so frustrating.’
She shifts on the door step:
‘Ah well, no rush to return the dish – we’ll be away for a few weeks.
Going on a cruise. Just a small one. I’m a bit worried actually, I’m terrified I’m coming down with a cold. There’s nothing worse than a sniffly nose!
Anyway, got to rush, I have a hair dressers appointment this afternoon. All the best!’
You juggle the still-warm meal and close the door, the hot smell of cheese and silver foil clouding the air.
After the door is firmly shut and the neighbour out of sight, you give the wood a short, hard kick.
It’s not fair!
Continue reading “Why aren’t I allowed to say that chronic illness is not fair?”
As we know, chronic illness goes on and on and on.
There is no end, no use by date. This is a problem.
Because we are only human. We find it difficult to stretch out our emotions. A state of perpetual excitement, for example, is extremely difficult to maintain.
So is a state of sympathy.
Yet what happens when the tragedy has not passed (and may not pass) and our sympathetic feelings, our desire to be involved, our sadness in what is, has come to an end?
Do we simply give up?
Do we stop Watching?
First of all let us ask ourselves a probing question:
Why is lack of sympathy a problem?
Why is it a problem that we no longer feel interested in our Loved One’s suffering? Why is it an issue that we don’t wince as they wince any longer?
Is it really that wrong?
I suspect we want to instinctively answer ‘yes’. Yes, there is something wrong when we don’t care about suffering anymore.
That answer is right.
But it’s also wrong.
Everything becomes normal
Continue reading “4 things to do when you run out of sympathy”
Have you ever felt like a burden? To those around you? To your friends, your spouse, your community?
It’s easy to feel doubly burdensome when someone you love is ill or going through a tough time. You don’t want to add to their struggles… and yet somehow you accidentally end up doing so!
Are you a burden?
Sorry, but you are a burden
A burden is something troublesome. Something hard to get rid of. We can be burdened by duty, worry, conflict or disease.
But more often than not, our real burdens are people.
All relationships are burdensome. All attachments hurt. Friendship is ecstasy and agony.
When we love someone we worry about them. We weep when they weep, we laugh when they love. It is people – family, neighbours, friends, spouses – which hamper our futures and make our decisions doubly difficult.
Continue reading “Yes, you are a burden to your chronically ill friend…”