|That's me up there after those last two posts.|
Get it? I made an ass, not really out of you, but definitely out of me. I ended up dangling from a metaphorical cart because I broke a cardinal rule of writing and I assumed you knew what was in my head without me communicating it as clearly as possible.
I'd like to clarify my stance on "How are you?" and "I can't imagine". These are likely ok for most people but understand, if you ask how someone is and they say "Fine", don't push. Unless you are very very close to that person please respect whatever boundaries they are setting at that time. Don't say "I can't imagine" and then fish and fish for "it's not that bad", or if you get "it's not as bad as it seems" or some such don't push and push for all the gory details. You wouldn't put a veteran on the spot about what they've seen and gone through if you are not extremely close to them. I'm not comparing cancer to war, but when you have cancer or watch a loved one go through it you don't go to the hospital so they can feed you Skittles while they braid your hair. It is traumatic, it is grueling, and it's hard to discuss every single time you have a conversation. So express concern, ask after their wellbeing, but don't push a cancer patient or their caregiver or someone else going through a crisis to make you into their confidant or savior. I hope this helps clarify things a bit.
Ninety eight percent of the people we've encountered on the road to recovery have been nothing but generous and loving and wonderful. One other thing I'd like you all to remember is that when someone is diagnosed with cancer, or loses a child, or faces some other awful crisis, they do not become a character in a movie. They stay the same unique, flawed child of God they were before, so the same hang-ups, impulses, and baggage they had before the crisis will inform the way they receive your efforts. The human spirit combined with the grace of God can meet immense challenges in ways that are incredible, this is true. What is also true is that extreme hardship brings out all of our personal protective measures, so using me as an example, everything in me was screaming to get in the bunker and hide all the while I had to be out at appointments and accepting people into my home more than I ever had in my adult life. This colored my interactions with everyone all the time so that there were times that well meaning conversations were just too much at that particular moment. So if you do reach out to someone and it doesn't go how you thought it would, please have mercy, they are bringing so much stress to every interaction and that is going to cause some awkwardness from time to time.
Finally, I want you to know that I remember what it's like to be on the other side. To hear about a situation that is (here I go contradicting myself) unimaginable and to short circuit at the enormity of it and your powerlessness to do what you most want--which is to stop it. I know what it's like to want that person to know how deeply you feel for them and what it's like to realize nothing you say seems like it can do much good. When you approach someone with love and prayer and your very best intentions, you will bless them.
You will not take it away. You cannot take it away.
You WILL still bless them and lift them up.
Back to you dear readers...help me sort this out...is that any clearer?