One of the strange and paradoxical things about illness is how it can bring out jealousy and envy in others. It is more than I can wrap my mind around that there are those who appear to be jealous and envious of our illnesses.
Perhaps some people enjoy getting a lot of attention, or are starved for attention, and they see everything with that mindset. I would be happy to be rid of my illnesses and am willing to give them to anyone who wants them. I don’t need or want the attention.
Then there are those days when we are doing a bit better, perhaps our illness has not completely stopped us in our tracks and we are able to do some activity normally denied us, we expect everyone else to be as happy about this as we are, but sadly, some people will not be happy about it. Some people may even label you as a malingerer because they have seen you do an activity on one day that you could not do on the many other days of your life with illness.
When you cannot work, and are stuck at home with your illness, you may sometimes hear: “I wish I was able to stay home instead of work.”
Those who are well may only comprehend not working through the eyes of their health. Not working for them means doing some other enjoyable activity, or resting from their labors. They do not see the pain, fatigue, and general misery you endure irregardless of activity, and that there are no enjoyable activities, and perhaps not even any rest from your not working because of illness.
In a perfect world people would better understand chronic illnesses and those suffering from them, but the truth is that sometimes we must deal with petty people, with small-souled people who have not suffered greatly if at all, and cannot fathom illnesses that can stop you in you tracks, or that illness can be tolerable one day, and earth-shattering for you the next day. Often in our insane situations with illness we must deal with less-than-sane healthy people.
It comforts me that God sees beyond mere outward appearances. He knows how much we suffer in body and mind even when others don’t see it. He knows the depth of our illness when others see mere inactivity, or foolishly think that a day off with illness is just another “holiday.”
We sometimes must comfort ourselves with the fact that God knows the truth while others are blinded by their limited perspective.
There are times it is hard not to be frustrated by the ineptitude of others towards illness and our particular brand of it. We sometimes cannot comprehend their incomprehension of what we are going through.
Just as it is difficult for us to imagine what it feels like to be healthy after being ill for so long, they find our illnesses and disabilities incomprehensible. We will need God’s grace to keep us sane and patient when we have to deal with the ignorance of others regarding our illnesses.
Thankfully, those who know us best, and those who are our true friends either understand our difficulties with illness or make the effort to try and understand our challenges. Their kindness and words of wisdom help to offset the ignorance and foolish comments and bad attitudes of others.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we need patience when we come up against the ignorance of others regarding our illness. Help us to stay sane in this insane world. Amen.
About the Author:
Karlton Douglas lives in Ohio with his lovely wife. He needs God’s patience and grace with his illnesses.
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Have you ever been shocked by the incomprehension of others regarding your illness? Have you ever come across people who have been jealous or envious of your illness?