What if they don’t understand? (Watchers we are not delegates!)

Is it always possible to represent someone else accurately?

How often have you stood ‘in the place’ of your ill Loved One?

Maybe you’ve attended an event,

answered a question,

or formed a relationship,

which they simply could not.

Delegates are people who represent someone else to a community. They go forth in their place and explain the other person’s views, character and position. Sometimes it’s easier to see ourselves, not as Watchers of our Loved One, but as their delegate to the outside world.

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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: When NOT to answer The Question

Questions require answers… but only sometimes..

Some questions should not be answered.

This is not because they are silly or childish (there’s no such thing as a stupid question, remember?)

Or because they are too difficult.

Or even because the answer is too scary.

No, the only reason you should not answer a question is when you have something to offer that is more important.

But what’s more important than an answer?

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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!

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LTCI #2: Am I my family’s keeper?

Am I always supposed to know the answer?

How’s your mum? How’s your sister?’

These are questions I get a lot. They’re great questions. They mean people are thinking about my sick family members, and it shows that the people around me understand that their illnesses are a rather large part of my life.

Most of the time I appreciate the time taken to ask a question like this, and the implied preparedness of the asker to listen to a ‘deep’ response.

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Why you should sympathise with first world problems (when your own are much bigger)

First world problems – is there anything more irritating when you’re going through tragedy?

I stubbed my toe.

I can’t afford concert tickets.

There’s no chocolate in my house.

Who hasn’t heard such complaints? From friends, colleagues – perhaps from yourself.

We often label them “first world problems”.

And they can be annoying. Especially as Watchers.

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Why I think it’s okay to grieve in church

Crying in a public place? You should avoid that. No one wants streaked mascara…

Grieving in front of people is not something we’re particularly good at in my culture. Weeping often happens behind closed doors, or in the arms of a loved one. Yet when a diagnosis of chronic illness enters our lives, or the lives of our family members, it’s impossible to avoid public places, and often just as impossible to avoid tears!

As Christians, church is a public sphere where we may find it hard to contain our grief. But should we be trying?

I don’t think so.

4 Reasons we grieve chronic illness in public

1. We grieve chronic illness in public because we care

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