I went to church this morning. Something I don’t do nearly like I should. Fantastic sermon – but one minor point stuck with me. Advertising.
The statement was made about watching people in public who wear t-shirts, and how what the shirts say also say a lot about the person wearing them. But the one shirt that stuck with the speaker also stuck with me. “Don’t listen to what I say, watch what I do”. In the context of religion, and behaving in a way that would glorify Christ, this shirt makes sense. But my mind being what it is, I have been turning this around all afternoon.
“Don’t listen to what I say, watch what I do”. Let us put this in practice.
“I have terminal cancer, watch me go to dinner with my family”.
“I have a terminal brain tumor, watch me have a beer with a friend”.
“I have spinal stenosis, watch me pick up my grandson”.
“I have rheumatoid arthritis, watch me go camping for a week with my husband”.
“I have diabetes, watch me order a sugared dessert”.
“I am such a compassionate person, watch me cuss out the lady who parked in the handicapped spot who doesn’t meet my definition of handicapped”.
“I’m praying for you, watch me tell my friends how you are only sick because you are such a horrid person”.
“Don’t listen to what I say, watch what I do.” Okay. But why should the fact that one has a terminal illness mean the only way they can act is sick? Have you ever been sick for a long time – had a chronic condition? You get TIRED of being sick. You are more than willing to pay later for a brief respite – a short period of “normal”. Maybe that cancer patient knows that there is a really good chance that this will be the last meal out with his or her family – ever. Maybe that man having the been truly has nothing to lose. Maybe the person picking up his or her grandson knows that there may be a day in the future when that will no longer even be an option. Maybe the person with RA just wants a week without the pain and all the “I can’t’s” being in the spotlight. Maybe that diabetic has great control of his or her sugar, and deserves this one splurge. But I have to stop there. You see, all these examples can be misconstrued. These actions can be misunderstood. Before I address the last two, let me say right here – there are no cut and dried rules to terminal or chronic illness anymore!!!!! For those with any terminal or chronic condition, the new rule is “if you feel up to it, take advantage of every opportunity”!!!!! So for all those who will read these words that have to deal with the day-to-day of a life changing, life threatening condition, I say LIVE!
Now to the last two. I am a very forgiving person, but your actions speak louder than your words in these cases. Compassionate people do not judge. Compassionate people do not assume. Compassionate people do not do for others for any other reason than they feel it is what is the right thing to do!!!! So don’t insult my intelligence by telling me how compassionate you are, and then acting like the most judgemental, uncaring, inconsiderate jerk on the face of the planet! On the other front, if you are a person who believes in a higher power, God, whatever you term it, let me put this bluntly. I have never heard of a religion that has at its head an entity that condones gossip and backstabbing. Oh, and people do not get sick because they are horrid.
Am I a tad perturbed? You bet. Always. Because there are far too many people who are suffering – and far too many who are going through the motions of helping them, and actually not doing a damn thing. So next time someone tells you they have an “invisible” illness – don’t diminish their life by putting expectations on how they should look, act, or what they should or should not do. Next time you see that young lady who looks perfectly healthy get out of the car in the handicapped spot, don’t judge her by her “advertisement” of health. Be a compassionate person – this world has enough pain and hate, it doesn’t need an extra contribution in that direction.
Thanks for your time in reading this. Feel free to share if you want to.