Unwell?

It seems like bad things happen at the worst times possible, physical or financial, just when we have so much planned!  Sometimes, we are not just told to cut back a bit and do less, but we feel like we’re been completely shut down from doing anything productive or useful.  It’s frustrating, disappointing, disheartening, we get jealous of others who can do or go more, we feel left out, misunderstood, pitied by others, etc.

It feels crummy.

I have learned some gritty lessons from seriously ill patients, as well as others with devastating financial problems, and endless and excessive family/work demands.  I even learned a lot from my own experience with a badly broken leg  – bedridden, off work, then wheelchair-bound, etc. for several weeks, and experiencing unexpected depression.

One of the things I’ve learned in my chaplaincy visits, when I stop trying to fix their issues, I can hear them better.  We can both hear God better too!

When people lose the ability to physically do the things they want, some grow in peace, grace and wisdom – after an initial adjustment period.  Priorities get adjusted, humility develops (replacing the POISON of resentment) and perspective changes.  In some cases, it’s a relief to have to let go of some things that really are unrealistic even when in full health.  Facing and accepting our limitations can be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s unsafe and unhealthy to not receive that medicine.

Time is limited and incredibly valuable – for all of us.  That crazy feeling running train of thought for all the things we need (or want) to do seems never ending.  When sidelined, quiet down a bit, turn to God and can hear Him better.  It helps. 

When I visit with people in hospice, they sometimes feel lost, especially unable to do for themselves or others.  But listen to them, their thoughts and words are even more precious and frequently filled with wisdom.

Offer the best gift, your time, listen, really hear their heart words.  Make time.  It matters.

Peace be with your spirit, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Cancer. Again.

If you’re dealing with cancer – either your own or someone you love, do not feel obligated to hide or “handle it” perfectly.

In my chaplain role, oncology patients have taught me so much.  One spunky, very ill, older woman said she had so much cancer in her family that she always knew without a doubt that her turn would come to battle it.  She already studied a lot on the subject, to help support family members.  She felt well-prepared for the time when it knocked on her own door.

She told me that when it actually happened to her, she realized she wasn’t as “good” at cancer as she thought she would be – it turned her world upside down and she had a much harder time emotionally than she expected to.  She ended up with the same fears, devastating thoughts and initial hopelessness that she saw in others.

Another woman I spoke with said the worst for her was losing her hair, no matter how perfect her wig was.  She didn’t feel like a woman anymore.  Another woman didn’t care so much about the hair stuff, but she could barely deal with losing a breast, and now she was losing the second one.   One man was sure his wife would not love him anymore, but would only stay with him out of obligation, hoping to find a “whole” man after he passed.

This cancer monster is so diverse and sneaky in the way it attacks each person!  It attacks ones psyche, spirit and body.  It finds each person’s own unique vulnerabilities and attacks.

If you are in a place where you can hear this, take heart and have full confidence in the presence of God in every aspect of your life.  Even cancer.  This is really hard.  You are a whole person, who happens to have cancer.  At times you may feel consumed by it, defined by it, in ways no one else can know.

Please know at least this one thing, beloved, God does care and will never leave you.  You are not alone, even in those dark quiet moments, when anguish washes over you.  God’s Holy Spirit accompanies each of us into our most personal battles, even the ones where we feel so alone and abandoned – He IS with you now and every tomorrow.

Peace be with your spirit,  RevDonnaH