Today’s verse of inspiration is Luke 10:27 – Love your neighbor as yourself.
We have all said and done things that later we regretted. Especially in the middle of a crisis type situation. I think if we could just remember the above verse during those times we might have better encounters.
Today I saw a post on Facebook (yes, I know, I spend too much time on that). It was a post about Stupid Things people say. It got me thinking about things that I have seen, done or heard either in my situation or someone else’s.
Keep it Positive and Helpful:
- Label food containers. Last night I could not remember when some food was brought over and I thought “hmm, an easy solution to this would be to put a date and the name of the dish on the container.” (If you are not using disposable dishes and want something back be sure to put your name on it, too} People are extremely generous when it comes to food. Unless you are providing for a very large family, there are going to be leftovers. Leftovers are a wonderful thing because there will be lunch and dinner a couple of times with the food that was brought. However, when others come over to help, it is nice for them to be able to look in the fridge and know at a glance what the options are.
- When we came home from the hospital I could smell the freshly mowed lawn. Many times people will say “Let me know what you need.” Honestly, most people in a crisis don’t know what they need. If you ask them if the lawn needs to be mowed they likely will not have any idea. They are not worried about that. So if you drop off dinner and notice the lawn looking ragged ask “May I mow your lawn for you?” Most likely the answer is going to be “Yes, thank you!”
- I enjoy a personal visit, they are always (well almost always) welcome. It is very interesting that people want to do “whatever they can” but they “don’t want to bother you.” While there is much emotional support through texts and Facebook messages, visiting with someone in person is huge (just make sure to follow the Consider What Jesus Would Do rules below). Call first and make sure it is a good time, Watching a football game, baseball game or a movie and just being there could be one of the most uplifting things you do.
- The last time we went through this (yes, see The day my life changed to read about our first encounter with cancer), we had couples that would come over together. The husband would do something outside of the house with my husband and the wife would stay and visit with me. The caregiver needs the opportunity to get away and get refreshed. The caregiver can feel very isolated during the crisis situation. Being able to run errands and do something for themselves could be just what they needs Combining a visit with an excursion for the caregiver can be just the ticket for both of them.
Consider What Would Jesus Do
- Having been a cancer survivor or more accurately now a #lifer, I have heard almost all of the comments mentioned in the article link above. People want to convey their empathy but usually make situations worse when they don’t know what to say. Remember, this is not about you. Having to console you is not a burden you should place on your friend. Many of my cancer friends have strained relationships now due to this type of thing.
- It is highly likely that there things that need to be done around the house. But please, don’t do something without permission. I have a hard time even letting my mom do things around my house without supervising how she is doing it. Not everyone does things the same way. Maybe the laundry gets hung up instead of throwing everything in the dryer. Maybe the dishes are sitting out for a reason. Please don’t assume that things are done the way you do them. Ask IF they want it done and, if so, HOW they want it done.
- I have belonged to a support group for several years and one of the things I have heard other survivors grouse about is people sharing stories about everyone they have ever known that has survived, or worse, died from cancer. No one’s journey is just like anyone else’s. Sorry that your Aunt Louise didn’t make it, but is that really what they need to hear right now? Jesus did not tell the leper about others that he had healed
- As I mentioned above, a personal visit can be a nice distraction. But please don’t be offended if they ask you to leave. It usually just means that they are getting fatigued. Realize that fatigue can come on quickly. If they ask you to leave, it is not because they do not appreciate your visit, but because they are tired and need to rest. It really is that simple.