Help! My sick friend is not very sick…

When your sick friend is not so sick…

Our Loved One is too healthy.

On the surface this doesn’t really seem like an issue, does it? More like an answer to prayer!

And yet, I’d like to propose it can be a problem too. As we Watchers know, chronic illness is unremitting, that’s the nature of it. But the reality is, chronic illness, like everything has it’s ups and downs. Some days are better than others, some weeks are worse. Sometimes we can joke and other times all we can do is cry.

This ebb and flow is good. It helps us survive. It brings us hope, it gives us relief. But it can also be a hard reality to communicate.

‘How is your Loved One?’ Someone asks.

‘Not well,’ you say.

‘Oh, but I saw them at the grocery shop the other day, they looked so good!’

This, my friends, is why it can be just as hard when our loved one is well as when they are not.

Continue reading “Help! My sick friend is not very sick…”

Talking about suffering: When we miss our chance to have the conversation

Some days we just can’t find the words in time…

I know I should talk about it,

I want to talk about it,

I planned to talk about it,

I prepared to talk about it…

But I missed my chance.

Am I a failure?

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Talking about suffering: Why answering ‘That Question’ is so difficult

‘Why does God allow suffering?’ if you find that question daunting – well, you should!

Are you a chatterbox?

Although I’ve written before about thinking before talking, and even (on occasion!) not speaking at all, the truth is…

I rather like talking.

Bring up ‘Sherlock Holmes’, the latest book you’ve read, or something God’s been teaching you… and chances are, I won’t be closing my mouth for a while.

Yet there are other topics which are less guaranteed to set off an avalanche of words. I suspect it’s the same for you.

I also suspect that one of these might be: ‘why does God allow suffering?’

It’s an important question – so why do we find it so difficult to talk about?

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Talking about suffering: Why pure motives don’t always make things right

Is the ‘right’ answer always the most appropriate?

Today’s post is the first in a series of articles called ‘Talking about Suffering’…

Why am I sick?

Will I ever get better?

What am I supposed to be doing with my life?

It can take courage to ask these questions. But sometimes, it can take even more courage to answer them.

Talking about suffering is hard! (how do you know what to say?)

Figuring out the truths about illness, suffering and the big problems of life is difficult.

It’s a different sort of hard when you are not sick yourself. How often do you feel helpless in the face of such questions? How often do you feel ill-equipped to answer your sick friend’s frustrations?

Even if you ‘know’ the right response (whether that’s an answer, rebuke or piece of advice) you might not know ‘how’ to say it.

Is this you? It’s often me!

Continue reading “Talking about suffering: Why pure motives don’t always make things right”

Planning your own future when you have a chronically ill family member

Just because a door slams shut does not mean it is locked…

Sooner or later all of us want to look into the future. The time comes when we need to sit down with pen and paper and plan out our next few years. The problem with doing this as a Watcher is that chronic illness extends into the future too! It’s a big part of our life and we can’t ignore it or naively pretend that it will simply ‘go away’.

How then do we plan our future, keeping in mind our Loved One’s chronic illness?

Continue reading “Planning your own future when you have a chronically ill family member”

Help! I’m jealous of their chronic illness!

If you could pick an illness which one would you choose?

Imagine this. Or perhaps you don’t have to…

Your Loved One has lived with their chronic illness for ten years. There’s been highs and lows, but you’re just beginning to understand what life looks like for them and also for you.

Then a close friend receives a diagnosis. They’re sick. Chronically sick… perhaps with the same illness as your loved One, perhaps a slightly different one.

Everyone is dismayed and shocked. They surround the newly-diagnosed one with gifts of love and support. Maybe they look at you, and assume you too will visit and offer your help. After all, you and your Loved One are ‘old hands’.

Perhaps someone nudges you and quips that maybe the past suffering of your Loved One was preparation for loving this person – that all that agony was raising you up for “such a time as this.”

You know you should help. You know you should love. But instead you feel… jealous.

Continue reading “Help! I’m jealous of their chronic illness!”

How to write about Chronic Illness (Watchers, we are not Biographers)

Have you ever had the urge to make order out of chaos?

Are you ever tempted to sit down and try and order the pieces of your life? As you love and care for your sick Loved Ones, do you ever wish you could straighten your hardships out into a coherent narrative, one with a tidy moral and neat conclusion? Do you feel that if only you had a polished version of your life, it would be a enough to redeem your suffering, because then it would have a purpose?

In short, do you ever neglect your role as a Watcher in order to become ‘Biographer’?

This is what it looks like:

Continue reading “How to write about Chronic Illness (Watchers, we are not Biographers)”