“Oh look at all those other people with their lollipops and rainbows, skipping hand in hand in a luscious field of poppies. If only that was me. Instead here I am in my dark corner with my pet spider and my burden of responsibility.”
Which character would you be in a novel?
The love interest?
Some days it’s easy to feel like the victim. The character that gets smacked over the head with a tonne of Tragedy just so the hero can realise that yes, the world does need saving. I’d better find my cape…
You might not struggle with your health on the same level as your friend or family member with a chronic illness, but it can still feel like you’ve got the raw end of the deal.
After all, your life has been disrupted too! You have added responsibility, added financial strain, added demands on your time and energy. On top of all that you spend a lot of time in close quarters with someone who is unwell (and the truth is, unwell people aren’t always as much fun as ‘well’ ones – I personally turn into a monster when I have the flu).
When you feel overlooked and depleted it’s easy to imagine that your identity is not in being a Watcher, but rather a Victim (yes, with a capital V).
Continue reading “O woe is me! (Watchers, we are not Victims)”
I’ve been absent lately.
I’ve discovered that it’s quite difficult to type with a broken wrist!
I’m also settling in to what it looks like to be at home, loving someone going through chemotherapy.
It’s not easy. Patience and domestic duties have never been my strong points. Far from it actually. Some days I want to give it all up and become an “impartial observer”. It hurts much less when you fail and takes far less effort!
Nevertheless, God has called me to be a Watcher right now, so I pray and know He will equip me in all the ways necessary (and probably in a lot I’d like to pretend aren’t necessarily, like the ability to ‘see’ what needs to be done around the house or remember to pick up my own clothes from the floor).
ALSO an exciting piece of news: This is the 100th post on Called to Watch! Is there someone you know who might find this blog helpful? Take a moment to send them the link, or sign up for email updates!
Being a Watcher is hard, and instead of ‘really’ caring, it’s tempting to disengage emotionally. When this happens, we become “impartial observers”.
Continue reading “Loving a sick person is too hard! (Watchers, we are not impartial observers)”
“Lights on, hours before dawn.
In pain someone rolls.
It’s not me, never me,
for whom the bell tolls.”
For me, there is something clarifying in forcing my emotions to submit to the demands of rhythm and rhyme.
Obviously it’s been a while since I posted. Lately my thoughts have not been ordered enough to sit down and blog, the reason for this being that new health problems have arisen in the lives of my Loved Ones (and hence in my life).
And so, I’ve spent some time grieving, some time trying to figure out my response, and even more time wondering what the future will look like. As of yet, I don’t have any answers, and I’m not sure when ones will be forthcoming – but this I know: my God goes on before me.
In an attempt to process this new upheaval I spent some time writing poetry. I offer this as an explanation as to why I haven’t been writing here, but also because I thought perhaps sharing some stanzas might also serve as an explanation, and even an encouragement. Is there anyone else who turns to poetry in order to order their thoughts?
Continue reading “Watchers, we are not Experts in chronic illness”
This is a blog about ‘Watching’. That is, loving suffering people while not suffering yourself.
But what does that look like? It can (and does!) look like many things, but sometimes it’s helpful to look at what we are not.
Master List: Watchers, we are not…
Watchers, we are not… Doctors
We just want them cured – is that so wrong?
If only we could decipher the ‘meaning’ behind their suffering!
Watchers, we are not… Saints
Of course we’re fine, after all, we’ve got this!
Continue reading “We cannot be everything (We are Watchers, not…Master List)”
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.
Continue reading “What if they don’t understand? (Watchers we are not delegates!)”
“I’ve got this.”
“Honestly, it’s fine, I promise.”
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are only a Watcher, and instead begin to think that we are (or should be) a “saint”.
This is what it looks like:
Watchers, we are not saints
- …. feel guilty all the time. I’m not a good Watcher. Not even passable. Why can’t I do anything right?
- … gloss over your hardships and sacrifices. Oh I don’t do much, not at all. Yes I spent all day driving my loved one to appointments in the rain, but that doesn’t matter. It was nothing!
- … never share your problems. I’m going fine. One’s got to do what they’ve got to do! Other people have it worse, after all.
Continue reading ““I’m fine, don’t worry about me!”(Watchers, we are not Saints)”
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:
You are often on the look-out for a purpose or a theme behind your Loved One’s suffering, or in day to day occurrences
You have a yearning desire to put each new experience into words so that others can learn
You are tempted to dismiss parts of life which don’t lend themselves to ‘story’
You are drawn to those areas of life which seems just a little bit more dramatic, heroic or exciting
You feel that your life and experiences are wasted if nobody reads about it and learns
I’m going to switch to ‘we’ now, because this is something I am guilty of at times…
Continue reading “How to write about Chronic Illness (Watchers, we are not Biographers)”