Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sticks and Stones

The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
   and their lips promote instruction.

 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
   sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 
Proverbs 16:23-24 

If you can't say nothing good, don't say nothing at all
Mac Powell

For some reason tonight I started thinking about things people have said to me over the years about my health problems. There are many, many people who have been as sympathetic as they have known how to be and they have been wonderful and a blessing to me in my trials.  I recognize that you can't really understand how I feel, unless you have been through a long-term, chronic illness yourself.  Just like the author of the spoon theory, I know that our loved ones can understand a lot because they live through this with us...but even that just isn't the same.

I am so thankful for all of my friends and family who have been understanding and empathetic to me.  As far as those around who have not been quite so sensitive, most of them obviously did not have intentions to hurt, they were just speaking from ignorance and/or trying to find something to say.  I was able to laugh at most of them pretty soon after, but some have taken longer to seem as funny.  Some things have been much more hurtful, but I don't focus on those.  It's much better to be able to laugh about it! That way something that could have been negative, becomes like medicine. 
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

It is interesting that if someone has a disease that is more obvious or something like a cold, people are usually kind and feel sorry for the person.  When your illness lasts more than a few months, responses are quite varied.  I see other posts around the web from chronically ill people who hear silly comments from people and they all try to share them and laugh at them.  So while they are on my mind, here's my top 5:

5) "Could it be psychological?"
4) "I felt tired like that once, and I just got up and kept going and I was fine!"
3) "Well, I just trained my body to live on less sleep!"
(This from an 18 year old.  I am guessing that around 30 she realizes that will not work forever)
2) From someone (formerly) in our church: "I just don't know why Alex even keeps Kaarina here. I mean, she doesn't do anything!"  (this one has always amused me immensely because I like to ponder what in the world my husband is supposed to do with me.  Beat me so I start working? Trade me in for Pastor Wife 2.0? Send me away? When the Russian Tsars wanted to get rid of their wives they would ship them off to a convent somewhere. Hmmmm.  Or maybe she would suggest that he use Henry the 8th's wife reduction plan?  Bless her heart.)
And the best of all.......
1) If you had enough/more faith, God would heal you. (this shifts the blame to me for being sick and ends up really being this question)

Oh and an honorable mentions go to: "just make more of an effort and you can do it."  Bless me.  If they only understood that I can use up my entire allotment of energy for one afternoon in one trip to the bathroom!

I think it's obvious from the type of comments, that people just opened their mouths without thinking.  None of them will ever read this blog and even if they did, they won't remember that they were the one who said that.  :)

I read the book of James tonight thinking about the power of the tongue.  I don't want to write this simply to log one more memory of this journey or to make the point that we should think carefully what we say to someone who says they don't feel well.  I also want to remember that what I say to people all the time is so important.    

Lord, here I am again asking for wisdom.  You have promised that if anyone ask, you will grant it.(James 1:5)
I ask Father, for help to edify with my words.  I ask that I might be filled with grace and wisdom and that my words would be a reflection of You in my life.  Let me be able to speak the truth in love and yet stay sensitive to the needs of others and to never say anything reckless that might intensify any hurt they are already feeling.  Let me speak words that heal.  Your words.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, 
but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 
Proverbs 12:18 

 The tongue has the power of life and death,
   and those who love it will eat its fruit. 
Proverbs 18:21


  1. Number 2 blows me away. Anyone who thinks a pastor's wife doesn't do anything doesn't know any married clergymen. Even sick I'll bet you do more in the church than any other woman.

    Number 1 is one of those things that makes me want to grab my Christian brethren and sistern by the throat and shake them violently. God is not a vending machine to pop out healing as soon as you put enough faith-coins in the slot. These people have trouble understanding that He has a will of His own.

  2. Oh, and I added you to my sidebar. Welcome to the blogosphere!

  3. Thanks Joel. I haven't been on here much lately. Alex was here for 3 weeks and just I will probably have time to post again soon. :)