Monday, September 19, 2011

A Hug Does A Heart Good

When our friends are sick, we care about them and hope that they will feel better soon. So that's what we tell them. But when you live in chronic pain, after failing traditional medical treatment, as well as alternative treatments, it's hard to accept the phrase, "I hope you feel better soon," from well-meaning friends. I used to feel frustration when hearing this phrase, even though I knew my friends cared, and were well-meaning, but I now appreciate them for reaching out to me in the best way they know how to. But, my reality is, I likely won't feel better soon. And it does not make me feel encouraged to hear that phrase.

So, what should you say to someone who is in chronic pain? The best thing, for me, is to sincerely ask how I am doing, as opposed to an obligatory "how are you?". The most meaningful and encouraging thing to me is to hear that you care, and to show me that by saying, "I'm sorry you are in pain", or "I'm sorry you're living with this", or "I am thinking about you", or "I will be praying for you and God's healing".

I don't remember a lot of things, thanks to the side effect of one of my migraine drugs, but one memory I do have is of my thoughtful brother-in-law reaching out to me, embracing me in a hug, and genuinely saying, "I'm sorry you're having such bad headaches", at a random moment at a social event. That moment still brings tears to my eyes.

A hug always does a heart good anyway, doesn't it?

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