"I Have No One" Responding to the Cries of the Sick

“I Have No One” Responding to the Cries of the Sick

August 22, 2016 | Posted in: chronic illness; support, Isolation, Relationships

I sat with legs crisscrossed applesauce, eating a bowl of honeycombs with a shameful ferocity before preschool pick-up would end these heavenly moments of silence. Skimming the cable guide’s offerings, I settled on the noonday news. Instantly, an invisible hand was reaching from the television, thrusting open my chest and extracting my heart with skillful precision.

Instead of a red couch in Florida, my heart now beat in a flurry with a man in Louisiana who struggled to keep his mouth above the water amongst the rushing torrents. Behind him was a beat-up red pickup truck he’d fled. I wondered how many days he’d driven it to work, picked up milk in it after he’d driven the kids to school. And today, he was fighting for his life mere feet from it.

Muddy raging waters engulfed him. Were we all going to watch this man’s last breath on air? But no, there was a hand reaching towards him, stretching just as far as the water would allow without taking him under. That’s when I realized the dying man was bobbing back and forth under the water trying with all of his might, to get to the outstretched hand that belonged to a soaked shaking man in a plaid shirt.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think the plaid-shirted man began his day with the notion he’d be saving a drowning man on his lunch break. But he did. And by the time it was all said and done, my shirt was soaked with tears and my honeycombs had long since been forgotten. Is there any greater way to spend our lives than rescuing others?

I saw it again later that day, inside an online chronic illness support group. A woman posted about how the waves of pain and depression were pulling her under. She longed for a single friend in her town she could call upon, but there wasn’t one. Quickly, another member asked where she lived. Locations were exchanged, but sadly, they were states apart. I chewed on my lower lip for a moment trying to think of something meaningful I could offer up from so far away. My computer alerted me to a new comment in the thread. “So do you want to IM?” the woman from another state asked with a smiley emotion. I swallowed hard. Once, twice, three times. All I could see was a drowning woman, swimming to an outstretched hand over a computer screen. Is there any greater way to spend our lives than rescuing others? Click To Tweet

If there is one thing I hear most often in chronic illness groups, it’s “I have no one.” Their families are tired of hearing about their pain and despair. Their friends have moved on to less complicated, more fun relationships. And these people fighting for their very lives? So often, they swim through the muddy, raging water with no hand outstretched to them.

"I Have No One"

 

I know you are busy. I know you are tired. I know you are broke. I know you already feel stretched thin. I know it’s a sobering thought to remember health isn’t a guarantee and we’re all just one accident, one bad test result, one genetic mutation away from swimming those raging waters ourselves––– but it’s true.

And can I tell you, that if tomorrow you were to wake and find it all stripped away, the thing you’d want most would be someone to face it with you?

Can I implore you to love the chronically ill well? Yes, I love that you brought soup to your neighbor when they had the flu. But I’m asking for much more than that. I’m asking for you to really get in this with your friend, your partner, your sister. Whoever it is you feel has been consumed by illness and talks of nothing else. And not in that “pet project” sort of way where you try to change people, either. But in that all-encompassing way where you invite them in and share inside jokes, where you have shows you watch together and favorite restaurants. I’m talking about the kind of thing where when you find them sitting in the closet weeping over the formal gown they wore to the event six years ago you take them into your arms and weep with them, no questions asked. You know, just like they will  when your marriage falls apart at the seams or the thirty-seventh pregnancy test comes back negative. The way they’ll text you that hilarious meme to ease your nerves on your first day of your big new job. You know, the way they’ll be in this with you.

I mean, is there any better way to spend your life than to rescue people? Isn’t this community what we were made for?

Today, I’m challenging you to contact at least one person you know fighting to keep their head above those raging waters of sickness and to let them know, “I am in this with you.”

I am in this with you. Click To Tweet

 

 

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26 Comments

  1. Beth Paul
    August 22, 2016

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    So very true. Beautifully said. Thank you for speaking this to me many times! Love you friend and I am in it with you for sure too! ~Beth

    • Stacey Philpot
      August 23, 2016

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      Beth, Forever in it together. So looking forward to the day Lyme is nothing more than a memory for the two of us!

  2. Lori Wildenberg
    August 22, 2016

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    I Love your writing, your heart, your perspective. Thank you!

    • Stacey Philpot
      August 23, 2016

      Leave a Reply

      Thanks for being a part of the journey, Lori.

  3. heather
    August 22, 2016

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    You took the words out of the mouths of us who “know”. Keep talking and i’ll keep reading and sharing.

    • Stacey Philpot
      August 23, 2016

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      Thank you, Heather.

  4. Chronic Mom
    August 22, 2016

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    I love this and needed to hear this today. Sometimes I get in a mode where I’m feeling so sorry for myself I can’t acknowledge the pain of others. This is a great reminder that there are people out there who need me as much as I need them.

    • Stacey Philpot
      August 23, 2016

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      Yes, I do, too. But then, I see a post in a group where somewhere is literally trying to decide if they can go on just one more day. So often they have no one and nothing. And I realize I can’t catch them all, but together, we can.

  5. Yvette Lewis
    August 22, 2016

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    Beautiful post. So important.

  6. Kristina N.
    August 22, 2016

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    This is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing and really detailing how important it is not to leave anyone behind. My favorite line is, “is there any greater way to spend our lives than rescuing others?” Definitely tweeting and sharing that.

    • Stacey Philpot
      August 23, 2016

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      Thank you so much, Kristina. My heartfelt prayer is that folks are challenged, their eyes are opened to the sinking people are around them.

  7. The life
    August 22, 2016

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    Thank you,thank you,and thank you for this wonderfully written post!
    During the hardest,darkest moments, when the pain and illness were to. Much~I always had great people in my life to turn to~and they kept me afloat.

    • Stacey Philpot
      August 23, 2016

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      What a difference these people make! I’m so glad to hear you’ve had this!

  8. marie
    August 22, 2016

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    beautiful! people dealing with chronic illness feel alone, hopeless and helpless. thanks for reaching out when no one else will

  9. Andrea Stunz
    August 23, 2016

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    Such a heartfelt reminder for us to each do our part, whatever that is and whatever that looks like. Thanks, friend! I am humbled and honored to be in this with you.

    • Stacey Philpot
      August 23, 2016

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      What a gift you are. You are the definition of “in this.”

  10. Debbie
    August 23, 2016

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    Beautiful Stacey. It’s so true when we our friends/family and even strangers are drowning with a chronic illness.

  11. genevieve
    August 23, 2016

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    This is a beautiful post. Thank you. I will be sharing it with my followers for sure. Part of life is giving back to our fellow humans and finding ways to be compassionate to all the people we meet along the way. It isn’t always easy and some people may reject the support you bring to them but its part of what keeps this world turning.
    http://www.shipwithnosails.com

  12. Amy
    August 23, 2016

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    This is so true. Thank you for the reminder that to love the hurting often means taking the initiative and reaching out.

  13. Becky s.
    August 24, 2016

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    I have been there sinking into the abyss of my illnesses. Gets to me, but I still try to reach up and out of the sinking feelings by helping a friend I have. She is worth it.

    • Stacey Philpot
      August 24, 2016

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      I love your heart for others, Becky. And you are worth it, too!

  14. Terri
    August 24, 2016

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    Hey, friend, such an important post for me tonight. Different reasons than many of your followers I imagine. Nonetheless, I love your open, honest, engaging heart. I am so proud of you. Here for you.

    • Stacey Philpot
      August 24, 2016

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      Terri,
      How many times have you reached that hand out at just the right moment? You are a treasure. Praying the hand you need finds you today. You are so loved.

  15. Megan
    August 26, 2016

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    Thank you for this challenging encouragement. I do want to love my friends and family well. I do feel like I tend to learn more about ongoing struggles because of my “introverted, good listener” personality. I struggle with being able to continually and consistently pour into these people because I don’t feel like I have a lot of relationships where the care is reciprocal or more on the receiving end. I tend to get worn down from support being given faster than it is coming in. This probably means I should spend more time with Jesus, allowing him to give me all that I need for each day and just take one day at a time and not getting overwhelmed by what I may be asked to do in the weeks and months ahead.

  16. Kami Lingren
    August 28, 2016

    Leave a Reply

    This is powerful, important and so so true. Part of why so many of us are blogging in the first place, right? To reach out a hand and say “I’m in this with you. You’re not alone.” Thank you for sharing this, Stacey. <3

  1. “I Have No One” Responding to the Cries of the Sick – Chronically Whole | Chronic Pain Supergirl - […] Source: “I Have No One” Responding to the Cries of the Sick – Chronically Whole […]

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