Thursday, October 7, 2010

Reaching Out To Those Who Are Hurting

I really don't care for cliches when they are thrown out their flippantly as some sort of advice or strange comfort for the listener.  How about throwing in some personal words of comfort or kindness? 

Having said that, let me share a cliche or saying that I absolutely agree with because, in many ways, I have/am experiencing it myself:

"You don't know how much you appreciate something until it's gone."

My kidney transplant 6 months ago was a huge blessing to me but it didn't come without complications and a few hardships.    It's true, the whole journey of kidney disease, dialysis and transplant has made me realize that I should have appreciated my health all the years that I have had it.

You've heard me share about the joint pain I am experiencing as a result of the anti-rejection medication.  That has made me seen things in a new light as well.  The pain at times has been debilitating and I've been asking God to help me not to complain but instead to learn something from my experiences.  I am still working on that one but yesterday I had a thought (shocking, I know!).

I realized that I had never thought about what a blessing it was that I was able to move around and go and do without any pain in my body.  Now, when I am having a good day, I am very thankful for that ability to move without pain.

What else can I be thankful for?  I'm thankful for the ability to see - thank you Lord for sight!  Thank you Lord that my arms work and that I am able to hug my family and friends, prepare their meals - even to wave goodbye or hello to them.  There really IS so much to be thankful for.

One cliche that I absolutely do not like, even though it may be true is:  "Be thankful it's not worse.  There's always someone that has it harder than you do."  I think that is a good example of flippant and is not very caring.  Heavens, I am sorry that some people have it worse than me but if you are wanting to comfort me, an offer or prayer would be wonderful.

One more I don't like:  "This too shall pass."  Will it?  Are they sure?  Some things don't pass and really?  Even it a situation IS going to pass, hearing "this too shall pass" is not much assurance in the moment.  An offer of help would be way better!!
One more thing I have learned from my experiences is to be aware of the people around me who are hurting and going through difficult circumstances.  I know it is hard to really understand if you haven't gone through it yourself - that was the case with me, but after all things kidney, I suddenly understood what my mom had gone through and continues to go through.  She had a kidney transplant a year (and a couple of weeks) before I did.

My thought process was:  she has kidney disease, her kidneys are failing, she had to go through dialysis 3x a week and that makes it okay.  Boy was I wrong.  There's a lot more to it than that.  There are monthly, if not more, doctors visit and blood draws, there's multiple medications to try and balance what dialysis and your kidneys can't do, there are side affects such as dry mouth and intense foot cramps.  There's being so tired all you want to do is sleep and when you are awake you have no energy to do anything.

So, my point is, when someone tells me they or there family member is on dialysis - I can relate.  I can sympathize - I can offer comfort.  I can share with them my experiences.  I can pray and know how to pray effectively.  How can we relate to the sufferings of others if we haven't walked in their shoes?
  1. We can offer to help physically by helping with chores, housecleaning, food, childcare, etc.  If they say they are "fine" - probe a little to make sure.  I often didn't want to put people out even though I needed the help and even though they wanted to help.
  2. Ask how you can specifically pray for their needs.  For me, I needed a new kidney sure - but I also needed more energy to take care of my family so I asked for that.  I asked that the foot cramps would go away too - owee! 
  3. Visit them.  People in tough situations are often lonely because their friends "don't want to bother them".  Unless they have specifically asked that people stay away, bother them!
  4. Something that I am doing now is to learn about my friends situations, especially if it is medical, and find out what they are going through on a daily basis.  It might just spark some extra ideas on how to help.
I truly believe we are the hand and feet of Jesus on this earth - reaching out just as He would to those who are hurting around us.  How do you reach out?



Blogger Stacey said...

Amazing article, Becky! You did a great job writing this. Love you tons!

October 7, 2010 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Great post... I don't like the 'promises' people give... because ULTIMATELY they do not have the POWER to offer such assurances... such as 'it will never happen again' and when you've lost a baby no one can possibly promise you that THIS time WILL be different... because it might not... and that is okay... if it is in God's Almighty plan and purpose for OUR lives... Remain Blessed...

October 10, 2010 at 9:14 PM  

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