Wednesday, October 23, 2013

When Someone is Suffering...

We've all been there, and offered to give help and serve those in need..."If you need anything...Just give me a call."  But the thing is, when you are the one suffering, you really don't want to put someone out...and sometimes you are in so much pain...just the very act of thinking about what you need becomes painful.

After having experienced what I have over the last few months, I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas I have learned about helping and serving those who don't ask.  No longer will I say, "If you need anything...." Because now I know specifics I can focus on...

  • an offer of a ride to an appointment - there were a few times my husband went to work late to drive me to therapy appointments.  But there were also a few times, I had to do it myself.  This meant not being able to take the medication that helped to control my pain.  
  • Meals are nice, but really my husband and daughter had it covered.  He's picky and I have food allergies...but dropping by a treat says "Hey I was thinking of you"
  • Offer to run to the store and pick up some things
  • Texts 
  • Phone calls 
  • prayers and fasting
  • Play Words with Friends or another game just to keep them involved.
  • I was incredibly lonely...I would have loved it if someone came over to watch a movie or just talk
I know I'm not the only one who has gone through a trial like this.  
What things have you learned about service?

Mosiah 2:17  "And behold, I tell you these things that you may learn wisdom;
that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings
ye are only in the service of your God."
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  1. We're in the midst of some tough stuff and like you, I've learned how to offer more tangible help because of our experience. A note is lovely and non-intrusive. A goodie or (in our case) a little something for my son (who is ill). A gas card or restaurant card (all that traveling to and from doctor appts can get expensive). It's all so comforting!

  2. YES! And I always hate to ask, but I will take up anybody's offer to come clean house. I can't do it, and my family does the best they can, but they just don't do it quite to my preferred standard. Also: when you're sick, dirty bathrooms are the WORST, and it's even more terrible knowing there's nothing you can physically do about it!

  3. great ideas! I totally agree. :)

  4. Great thoughts. It's always hard to know what to do. I think distractions are good. Invitations to watch a movie or go somewhere help.

  5. Great ideas! If people know what to do, they generally will. It can be really intimidating to reach out. And mostly people are clueless.

  6. I have recently gone through surgery and many people offered meals but I too had that covered. I was sent texts and got phone calls but I'm never sure why people do this. As it seems to me that people just want you fixed, whole and back to independence as quick as possible. I haven't found people who deal well with a situation that lasts more than a week or so. Your last suggestion was what I needed most. I live a long way from family and I felt very isolated being house bound yet no one wants to come and give company. Most people's lives are jam packed full.

  7. The best example I have of someone helping another and showing compassion is this: I broke my leg in three places and was at home recovering from the surgery. My brother and sister and their families had all asked what they could do for me. I said, “Nothing. I’m okay.” My friend, Elaine, who had undergone debilitating foot surgery herself years before, called – on Christmas Eve, no less – and didn’t ask if I needed anything. She said, “I’m coming over. I’ll be passing Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, Popeye’s, Ace Hardware, Safeway, and King Soopers. What do you want at those places?” Worded that way, it seemed like less of an imposition. She brought me fresh food (salad!). She came in and asked for my mailbox key and went and got my mail for me. She took out my trash. She filled up a pitcher of ice water and left it within my reach. She got me into the shower and had me modestly disrobe behind the shower curtain, helping me on the other side of the curtain the whole time. When I was done, she handed me my clothes. Once I was dressed, she opened the curtains and helped me back to the couch. While I was showering, she vacuumed my apartment. None of those things did I ask her to do. She just knew what was needed because she had been in my shoes. She didn’t overstep; she wasn’t pushy. This is something I will never forget and have told to others many times. I sadly don’t know that I’ve ever paid this forward.

  8. LSpreng, you have already paid it forward by writing it here! and undoubtedly your time will come....
    My husband has been sick for two years. Sadly, it appears no one "gets it" yet. His family's idea of help is to phone, phone, phone, til we often just don't answer. We recently moved; and our grown kids decided to help us by coming down one by one, and doing whatever they thought was most needed. Our oldest daughter has been through many trials herself, and was respectful and helpful (although having to also tend a sick 3 yr. old). Next came a middle son who was sure we needed more technology at our fingertips - we've tried, but we still have no idea what we're doing with another son who was sure we needed furniture rearranged and other physical tasks done; as well as food cooked as only he could do (without asking about it first). Then our youngest daughter, who really helped! by cleaning out my husband's office in the place we just moved from; and visiting his parents in an assisted care facility. (All the kids did that - a great break/relief for me).
    It's funny how you can either feel happy and helped, or assaulted and insulted, depending on the words, actions and spirit of the "helper".
    (Unfortunately?) we are making sure that no one here in our new town, knows we need help! We don't think we can endure any more "well-intended but frustrating" incidents....we are exhausted and a bit out of patience after dealing with all the different personalities and helping styles of our own kids.


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