I’m sure most people who suffer from chronic illness will agree that many people (and often people who truly mean well) say things to us that come across the wrong way. Instead of conveying love, compassion, and concern (the feelings that they often feel towards us), their words convey pity, frustration, pushiness, or shock that we haven’t instantly recovered. Most of the time, they don’t mean it. It just comes out that way. And it leaves us feeling awful.
The other day, I got a phone call from a group of people who often pray for me. I hadn’t heard from them in a while, and there was some sort of miscommunication with them via e-mail that had me stressed out. However, when I got the phone call, the guy who represented the group said something to me that I wish I heard more often. He didn’t say the common things I hear from well-meaning friends: “Have you tried___? Why not? I think it will really work for you!” “Don’t you think you should be getting a ____ test? Hasn’t your doctor considered___?” “Well, you must be going to the wrong doctor.” “I just don’t understand why you can’t get better.”
No, he didn’t say any of those things. He said, “We love you, we’re praying for you, and we’ll be here with you as long as this takes.” No questions. No hints at frustration that this is taking too long. Just love and willingness to stick by me for however long it takes for me to recover. That’s what I love to hear. I think that’s what every person who is chronically ill needs to hear.