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.
Easy to say.
Hard to do.
Continue reading “How to sympathise with "first world" problems”
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.
What do we do when we find ourselves crying in church? – Is this a silly question? I don’t think it is.
I like practical answers.
If something uncomfortable has to happen, I want to know how I can fix it (or, preferably, avoid it).
What do I do when I find myself crying? Is this a question that needs to be answered?
I think it is.
Because weeping in public is not a common occurrence in Western culture. We generally try to avoid it – and so when we weep in public it is because we are overcome with grief. Tears take us by surprise; we are unprepared.
And personally, I’d rather not be. So let’s think about it now, before we find ourselves in that situation.
What should we do when we find ourselves overcome with emotion in public place?
Continue reading “How to cope with grief in a public place”
It’s easy for us, whose lives are so embroiled with the pain of our Loved One, to forget those around us who aren’t Watchers.
We should not overlook the lives of our wider supporters and focus exclusively on our sick Loved One. So far, so obvious, but how do we put it into practice?
How do we love our wider supporters (and why do we need a post on this?)
Surely, if we all just act like civilised human beings there’s no need for a specific address on how to ‘love’ those who are not watching as we are.
On one hand that’s true, and on another it’s not. You see, Watching means that we are used to having the pain of one person impact our life. We are used to focusing inward, towards them. We know what it is like to relate to people who are suffering.
And we might, in the process, discover we have a lot less patience for those who are not.
This, my friends, is somewhat natural.
It is also a problem.
Continue reading “How to love your wider supporters”
Wider supporters will hurt us at times
I think it’s important to acknowledge that either directly or inadvertently, wider supporters can sometimes make life harder rather than easier. It’s part of being human and living in a broken world.
- Brush away your complaints or concerns. “Ah well, sickness is part of life, isn’t it? We all have burdens.”
- Ask you to take up ministry opportunities when your life is full of caring for your Loved One
- Compare your suffering to theirs, “Oh I know exactly how you feel”
- Tell you exactly how they feel – without asking how you are
- Assume they know what you need, or what you ought to do
- Treat you differently because you are a Watcher
- Treat you exactly the same, as if being a Watcher has not affected you.
- Treat you as a walking newsletter, rather than an individual in your own right
Continue reading “What to do when our wider supporters hurt us”
What does society say about healing, prayer, heaven and sacrificial giving?
Have you been duped?
What do we really think about chronic illness? In the depths of our hearts, in the stillness of our bedrooms… are we really as kind as we think?
Here’s my thoughts on what society is perhaps “really” saying (or thinking!) about chronic illness and care-giving.
If some of these observations seem a bit too harsh, let me reiterate my definitions of “society”:
ONE: secular, not-specifically-Bible-based, thought.
TWO: individual-focused, 21st century, Western culture (because that’s where I live)
THREE: the ‘natural’ whispers of my heart when it is not focused on Jesus.
You see? If this post is harsh, it is harsh towards myself. If this post is judgemental, I am sitting in the dock as well as on the jury.
Let’s examine ourselves together, and not be afraid of what we might uncover.
What society says about prayer
Continue reading “What does society say about sickness (PART 2)?”
We know what the Bible says about sickness, but what does society say?
Perhaps it can provide another answer. Even a better answer.
We learnt that the Bible has some guidelines which can help us formulate an ‘answer’ to sickness.
But we can’t stop there.
I think it is important we look at the flip side.
What does society say about Chronic Illness?
A definition of ‘society’
Now, by ‘society’, I mean secular, not-specifically-Bible-based, thought.
I mean the individual-focused, 21st century, Western culture in which I live.
I mean the ‘natural’ whispers of my heart when it is not focused on Jesus.
can you really define ‘society’ like this?
Wait! If at this point you have an objection, I am with you.
If your objection is: ‘We can unearth what the Bible says about sickness by reading it, but how can we discover what society says? It’s too subjective. There’s no manual.’ then I’m with you also.
There is no book for society. It is made up of so many ideologies and sympathies. ‘Society’ is different in different cultures and countries and times.
How on earth can we hope to pin down in one post the response of ‘society in general’ to chronic illness?
To even consider doing so seems pretentious on the largest scale.
Continue reading “What does society say about chronic illness (PART 1)?”