Now, I’ve never been good at knowing the right thing to say in these situations. My brother, on the other hand, is so skilled at this! He was given a gift of always knowing what to say, no matter the circumstances. I’ve always admired him for this – especially how his words just roll off the tongue. But, now that I’m the receiver of these messages, I have a much better understanding of what to say to others in the future. For me, the best responses have been “I’m so sorry. How have you been feeling?” or “That’s a bummer. How’d you find out?” or “Oh no. How are you doing with that?” Responses like this have allowed me to talk about my experiences without making them so dramatic. These questions have allowed me to frame the conversation and address what’s on my mind – and share as much detail (or not) – for how I am feeling. These types of responses show care for the PERSON vs. offering advice. What a great learning for me and something to apply in the future!
I’ve also found that a simple question (or text) of “How are you feeling?” has been what I appreciate most when I run into these people again. Once again, my faithful brother taught me this. After my diagnosis, I would get a quick text from him asking this simple question every week or so. It was such a wonderful way for him to share that he was praying for and thinking of me. It’s so simple and so powerful. I hope these tips will help you, too!
Of course, the response of “At least it’s not life threatening” kept nagging at me for a few weeks. I couldn’t shake why it struck me so much. And, then it hit me one day and I laughed out loud! As a Christian, there’s no disease that is truly life threatening. Because Jesus died on the cross for me and YOU – we have the gift of eternal life. Even though I’m a sinner, through my faith and God’s amazing grace, I am saved. Amen!