Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the star on her lapel

When my mother was going through her struggle with cancer, I remember us talking frequently about the things people would say. We decided we should write a book outlining the appropriate and inappropriate ways to communicate with someone who is fighting this disease or with someone who loves someone who is fighting this disease. I was reminded of a few of those things today.

Usually I am a big proponent of storytelling. However, there are times when the only story you care about is the one you find yourself immersed in. And, someone's story of so-and-so's cancer that ended negatively, really doesn't help you feel any better about the story you are in the middle of. When you are the one battling against this disease (and I would venture to say other diseases, but I have no experience with that), I think you should get to wear a little star that gives you permission to be the only storyteller in the group.

My mother went to the doctor today for a checkup. And, praise the Lord, we don't have to put that little star back on her lapel. But, in the midst of our rejoicing with good news, I care deeply about someone who unfortunately is wearing the star right now. And, I ache with her. And, hopefully, the Lord will give me the grace to be silent for her. Because, though I know everyone experiences pain and receives love in different ways, I'm pretty sure quiet mouths, gentle hugs, and lots of prayers are what help when the star is pinned to someone's lapel.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be interested in such a book...several people in my church have fought with cancer or other terminal illnesses over the past year...having not gone through that with anyone I'm super close to, I have no idea what to say other than "I'll pray for you." Somehow that just seems like a standard-issue response when I say it, even though I do genuinely mean it.