PHOTO: Mesa County Libraries
Swapping stories about sicknesses at one point with some friends was a source of encouragement. No, nobody really wants to hear the gross details and no one can quite feel another person’s pain no matter how closely we relate.
So, why do people exchange such memories?
For that matter, why is it almost a proverb that you can probably guess what two elderly people are talking about? It’s their aches and pains. I can almost hear them sitting at their card tables…
“I have been seeing five men every day,” one says to the other as she throws down her Queen of Hearts.
“Really?” says the incredulous partner. “Who are they?”
“I get up with Charlie Horse,” she slyly replies. “I spend the day with Arthur Itis, sip tea with Will Power, and then I go see John. And I always retire with Ben Gay.”
Whether bedside-serious or chuckling with the older widows, there is a comfort to knowing that our suffering is not restricted to us. It may reduce our paranoia that we are being singled out by an angry God or it may be the obvious, “I know how you feel.”
There is also the matter of hope. When someone says they have arisen from an ailment, they have made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. If we still happen to be in the darker middle part of that tunnel, it’s a great relief and motivator to keep going.
Whether it’s a hand on the shoulder or a necessary gross detail that says, “I understand and here is proof,” or the gentile humor of a 98 year-old card shark, swapping stories can be the kindest of therapies.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: God uses empathy to open the portals of heaven in a way that few other things can when someone is in the midst of suffering. Praying for the sick is a duty while humor is the cherry on the top.
comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God...And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver…just say the word, and my servant will be healed…by His wounds you were healed.
2 Corinthians 1:4 ESV, Hebrews 10:24 NIV, Proverbs 25:11 KJV, Matthew 8:8 NASB, 1 Peter 2:24 NASB