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.
Today’s post is the first in a series of articles called ‘Talking about Suffering’…
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.
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?
How to plan your future while thinking of your sick family member
1. We admit it is hard
I think we’d all admit that planning our future is hard anyway. Whether you have too many possibilities or not enough, it’s difficult to figure out what something we have never experienced will look like. Most of us have dreams we’d like to see become reality, or at the very least we dream that one day we will have dreams.
Considering your future in the presence of chronic illness is even harder. The reason for this is that chronic illness is unpredictable. We can’t say how long our Loved One will need us, or how soon they will take a turn for the worse or for the better. We want to be realistic, but we also want to be hopeful.
Of course life is unpredictable for all of us. I could die tomorrow. And yet loving someone with chronic illness means that my future plans will impact them. Whatever I decide there will be some ramifications in their life – and so the burden to ‘choose right’ becomes even heavier.
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.”
Chronic illness or Christmas? Which would you prefer?
I know which one I’d choose. But too often we don’t have a choice – and this is very evident during the holiday season.
Over Christmas we often spend more time with family, and for many of us, that means spending more time with Chronic Illness.
Chronic Illness doesn’t go on holidays over Christmas…
While the shops and the media try to convince us that by November 1 we have entered into a ‘new world’ of perfectly laid tables, wrapped gifts and dizzying heights of tinsel – most of us know that’s not quite true.
Prayer. Healing. Chronic Illness.
These are tricky topics, and ones I’ve struggled with quite a bit. In these two posts you will find my thoughts… and why prayer has often seemed like a simple ‘wish’ when really it’s more like a magic wand.
If a wizard doesn’t have a wand, we begin to doubt whether he truly is a wizard. If he has one, and doesn’t use it… well that’s just silly! … Often my prayers for my Mum’s healing seem repetitive.
They exhaust me.
I don’t feel like dragging sickness into my prayer life… read more.
Christmas is coming up, and I want to thank you for following my blog. When you sign up you’ll receive 3 downloadable and printable cards suitable for someone with a chronic illness – and anyone in need of some love!
Some struggles win our sympathy easily.
My mother died.
I have cancer.
We are being evicted.
These announcements normally evoke an emotional response. We recognise them as huge, world-breaking problems. They are tragedies with capital ‘T’s.
For this reason it is often easier to sympathise with our chronically ill friend, than our whining-about-their-chipped-nails colleague. And yet, we’ve discussed that as humans (and even more so as Christ-followers) we really ought to sympathise with both.