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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.

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9 Responses to Advertising

  1. Hali Platt says:

    Five years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. At the time the symptoms really took a toll on me, but now that I am in remission it is more of an “invisible” illness. When I have no energy, people don’t understand why and they judge me. It gets really annoying. And sometimes when people hear that I’m sick, I feel like I have to act sick even if I’m feeling good that day. I really hate labeling. It took me a while to get out of that stage (and I can’t say I’m completely out of it). What helped me most was God. I know that I have a Father in Heaven that really cares about me and knows exactly how I feel. He gave me this trial so I can grow from it, help others, and understand others better. Having that eternal perspective and knowing that I am a daughter of God helped me realize it doesn’t matter at all what other people think.

    • Hali, I completely understand. I have spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. My pain comes from no visible source. It took a long time for me to not feel guilty for doing things on my good days. Finally, I decided that my conditions were just going to have to live with me and hang on, cause I wasn’t done yet. Now I’m a freshman in college at 50. I still hurt, I still have bad days, but it just has to take a backseat. I hate people who judge. They simply don’t get it, and in my opinion deserve our pity and nothing more. Hope you stay in remission, and welcome to my rambles!

      • Hali Platt says:

        Thanks! 🙂 That’s so cool that you’re in college! I like how you said that you weren’t done yet. There were times when I thought I was going to die and it was scary. I wanted to give up, but I couldn’t. For some reason God kept sparing my life. Now I figure its just to help people by using my experience. Now I’m a missionary for my church and I get to help people all the time. Its really cool. What helped you keep fighting?

      • My husband and my kids. My husband became 100% disabled in 2009, and we have a now 30 year old handicapped son, as well as a 29 year old daughter and a 20 year old son. My faith helped, but knowing my husband and son were worse than I was really kept me going. Then, my grandson came along, and now this year he was joined by my granddaughter. That, and I’m stubborn. And I help others with terminal or life changing illnesses. When I see a little girl of 6 who probably won’t see Christmas this year, it makes my pain seem trivial somehow.

  2. Hali Platt says:

    Being stubborn definitely helps a lot 🙂 Sounds like your family has really been through a lot! It helped me as well to look at others’ challenges. Helping others helps me forget myself and see God’s hand in my life. I want to be a child life specialist after college, so I can help others with chronic illness too. How do you help people with terminal illnesses?
    My family helped me a lot as well. One of my beliefs is that I’ll live with my family after this life, so I really got close to them during that time. They stuck by my side and never left. I am so grateful God gave me the family I have. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would’ve gotten through this. One thing’s for sure, I really started to understand what was most important in life!

    • I’m going for a degree in social work, to be a patient advocate for cancer patients and parents of handicapped children. I help by listening mostly, or finding grants or programs to help with bills or transport to appointments or even just find resources to explain their illness. Once I have my degree, I will be able to help from a professional standpoint, and hopefully take a small portion of the worry out of a major diagnosis.
      It sounds like you are on the right track! Going through a life altering illness is something that gives you experience you simply cannot get in a classroom.

      • Hali Platt says:

        I’ve been thinking of getting my Master’s in social work. I’ve been studying Family Studies and I hear they’re closely related. That’s really cool that you get to help patients so much. I’m really excited to be able to relieve some worry as well. Being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease is hard!
        So here’s a completely random question: has your relationship with God changed since you were diagnosed?

      • Yes and no. I don’t take it for granted like I did. My feelings toward God haven’t changed – I’m just much more aware of His presence. Make sense?

  3. Hali Platt says:

    Yeah, that makes sense. I had a good relationship with God before I got sick. But now when I look back on my experience, all I can see is God’s hand. I am so grateful for the miracles He gave me!

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