If you are or know someone with a chronic illness they will tell you the hardest thing about the suffering is the social aspect. They will almost tear up at the opportunities they have missed out on because their body wasn’t able to show up. And after all isn’t that the biggest part of friendship- showing up for others.
But what if in your heart you want to be there but you body aches? Your legs won’t carry you and your eyes can’t stay open? What if the visit will leave you worse for the wear? How then can you explain to people what it’s like to be the one that never shows up?
Here are 10 things many walking through this type of pain wish they could say to the general public.
1. Please stop letting offense be your first reaction. It’s not rejection.It’s not selfishness. It’s not disinterest in your company likely keeping someone from your invites. Chances are the person who couldn’t show up physically couldn’t show up. People in general aren’t jerks. Don’t construct one in your mind.
2. There are things they will never tell you. It may be pride. It may be not wanting to talk about it. Or it may simply be wanting to forget what they are walking through for a while and enjoying a friends company. Don’t take it personal. Take it as it comes.
3. There are a lot more of them than you think. Statistics say you have a few in your group, neighborhood or workplace already that are walking through illness.
4. Be the light. Look for ways to lift up others the moment you see them. Genuinely. Whether they appreciate it not. Keep doing it. Life is already hard enough don’t criticize, encourage.
5. Forgive, forgive, forgive. I’m not taking about letting people treat you poorly but know prescriptions and pain make people act in ways they wouldn’t want to normally.
6. Stop saying everything is because of what they eat. No. Just don’t do it. If you haven’t walked in shoes don’t try to tell them where to go. Victim blaming is handed out enough. Don’t join in the chorus.
7. Keep inviting. They are so appreciated even if never fulfilled.
8. Don’t make a show. If they need something they will ask. Don’t feel you have to bend over backwards or put special attention to them.
9. This is just a very small part of a person. It may take up much of their day but they don’t want to be asked how they are feeling all the time or reminded. They know. You know. Just carry on with the fun times.
10. Be open. If you have a question ask. If you feel awkward say something. If you are mad they missed so and so event lovingly confess. Real friendships are one of the greatest blessings God has given us. So just be real!
As always friends be blessed and be a blessing.