Thursday, January 21, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
We live by faith, not by sight--2 Corinthians 5:7.
Love...always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres--1 Corinthians 13:7
One of the toughest aspects of a couple dealing with the chronic illness of one spouse is the changes required in the relationship due to the demands and deficits of the illness. Illnesses do not ask our permission to rattle relationships and shift responsibilities between partners.
Every marriage involves a division of labor, so to speak. This should be based not on preset gender stereotypes, but on skills, desires, and opportunities. This is how good friendships work. But chronic illness scuttles all that, with pieces flying everywhere.
"The strong one" has to take on more; the "sick one" has to give things up and feels terrible doing so. Business as usual becomes a negotiable, ever-shifting puzzle. Grace, forgiveness, and trust are needed. Reliance on God is not optional, but mandatory. Both partners must trust beyond sight, absorb disappointments and frustrations, apologize when needed (as soon as possible), and endeavor to have hope through it all.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
— Romans 12:13
Hospitality is a lost virtue for many, although it is encouraged in the Bible in many places. Hospitality always involves adjustment. You open your home to someone from another home (or no home). There are overlaps in ways of living, but also discontinuities: When to take the daily shower, what time to eat, and so on.
Hospitality toward strangers means welcoming them as friends. They are strange to us simply because we do not know them. But chronically ill friends may seem strange, not because we do not know them, but because we do not understand their plight. When a chronically ill person must leave home and stay elsewhere things become considerably complicated and combustible. This is because that person has so many special needs, schedules, medications, and "issues" that it may confuse and frustrate those offering their homes. It is incomprehensible to well people why the chronically ill need so many different things at different times, and why they are not "flexible" (especially if they look healthy).
The answer to this problem is empathy and patience. Try to image what it is like to live inside a perpetually compromised, irritating, and under-performing body. Try to image the emotional strain and spiritual anguish this brings. And, very importantly, try to believe what these sufferers say about themselves and their needs. They wish--far more than you do--to be well, to be normal. But they cannot be. Neither can they fake it for very long until the bottom drops out. They need understanding and love.