Tuesday, March 5

what time shall i set the alarm for?

words are powerful. they can be lethal, or soothing. they can be used to lift up, or crush. they can produce smiles, or tears. 

it scares me how fast we toss them from our lips – when you consider the impact on our listeners. they are so easily formed and so painfully processed. we hurl them around, sometimes we leave a mess behind us. sometimes we leave a ray of sunshine.

when you are unwell for a long period of time you have the privilege of becoming well aquainted with the very best and worst of people’s responses. you learn to think before you speak because you figure out the power that words contain, and it feels so acute because you’ve never been so fragile or raw. 

sometimes i have sobbed, ‘it’s hard enough feeling like this, without having to deal with the things people say.’ i would think, ‘it’s not like i chose this’, and feel that bitterness at people having slipped away as soon as I was low, and boring, and irritable. but when there is only small reciprocation on the horizon, it’s not surprising, is it? i’m more immune to these things now, perhaps I have a thicker skin...i’m not sure, but it’s been a journey - one i'm grateful to have been on.

when you agonise over sending a cancellation message to someone, so often there is a cold, “that’s ok. see you next time,” or a hint of frustration. you long for a word of understanding, something a tiny bit tender which shows they didn’t just consider their own inconvenience, but also yours and your pain at having to cancel. when you leave early, you sting a little as they urge you to stay longer – you wish they would celebrate the immense effort it took to come at all. and it hurts when people say that if you thought more positively, or prayed for the pain to go away, or truly believed you would get better, then you would. because in your experience, the pain is still there... still there. you see pain on earth, and you feel it and groan with it, and you know that it’s not dependent on you for it to leave because if it was, it would be gone.  

my friend sets an alarm when she comes to visit me, so that she won’t stay so long that I get worn out. I feel this crazy warmth of joy when she says, ‘what time shall I set the alarm for?’ those words speak understanding and love a million times over. i can’t possibly list all the things people have said which have filled me with warmth.

you can always stop to think before, but afterwards it’s a bit late...so i’m going for the before approach. 

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