If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times… seriously folks! What, you may ask, is she talking about? Ok, I will explain.
When you have an incurable disease, most people will show empathy and offer to help in any way they can. What happens when you are not missing a limb, or hair, or any other outward appearance of disease? You hear this phrase, the one I am talking about. Ready for it…
“But you don’t look sick”. Simple yet when you have a disease that is “invisible”, you will hear this over and over and over again. When you try to explain about your disease, most people act like they are listening, but really most aren’t. Many times, when they leave, they are thinking that we are making it all up, either for attention or to get one of those coveted “handicapped” parking tags or any other reason.
Am I being a little sensitive? You are so right! The most amazing thing I have seen is that it is not my fleshly family that cares, but my spiritual family. I have pondered this for years now but have learned to live with it. It still hurts though. The ones you turn to for comfort and strength growing up, turn out to be the very ones who for reasons of their own, cannot provide the empathy you need when you are truly in need.
I am blessed to have a strong spiritual family who not only genuinely care about me and my health, they are proactive in showing it as well. It is amazing to see God’s love in action through the brotherhood of Christ’s followers who not only SAY they are Christians, but SHOW IT by their ACTIONS.
If I need a ride, I can pick up the phone and someone will come. If I need an ear to listen, they are there as well. If I need to sit in a row with no stairs (like at the Nutter Center for our convention) I am not only given a closer seat, but helped to my seat as well. If I am needing some shepherding by the elders, they will call around and help me out.
When I cannot make the meetings, I can tie in by phone and not miss a beat. It is also heartening to know that the love they show is REAL love, in imitation of Christ Jesus, and shown because they consider it a “privilege” to do so.
I am certainly blessed to have this community of my Spiritual Family. It helps me in the course of this disease to know that others out there really do care and go out of their way to show it by their words and actions. I think every person who has an incurable, chronic disease needs to have these types of people around them. Jesus gave us a model to follow closely, and even though we are imperfect humans, we can try to exemplify our love for Jesus and Jehovah by doing all we can for those around us who we can help. Even a small item can be a big deal to those of us who live the disease daily!
Our motto should by to have JOY everyday…Jehovah first, Others second, and Yourself last… in this manner, we can have happier lives and find the true meaning of life and living! In the words of one of my favorite songs…
We’re all apart of one world, we all can share the same dreams, and if you’ll just reach out to me, then you will find, deep down inside, I’m just like you! (One world lyrics)