Q: How to handle well-wishers when you’re ill
[Note: I’m changing format on the titles of these, because “question” was taking up too much space.]
This from an inquirer (slightly edited):
How can I express my experience without reinforcing error? I’ve been suffering [with some symptoms] this past week, and sometimes people who know I’ve been having trouble will ask how I’m doing.
The (human) truth is I feel lousy, and haven’t been able to get relief (yet). The capital-T Truth is I’m doing great and have never suffered and I am perfectly well.
I feel uncomfortable saying either of these! The first, because I don’t want to strengthen the error, and the second because it’s not my experience (yet).
How can I be both authentic and spiritually minded? How do you handle this?
As always, would be great to have the responses of blog readers!
I have a few things to say about situations like this.
First of all, Christian Science doesn’t accept any belief in voodoo. Sometimes I’ve felt that the hesitation to talk about what we’re experiencing comes from a fear that by talking about it, we’ll increase the power of the “evil spell,” or something. But the more I’ve come to understand that we can’t strengthen something that had zero power to begin with, the more relaxed I’ve become on this issue.
Second, the dear people who care enough to inquire how we’re doing are expressing Love, which is just as important as Truth in healing. And, I’ll take all the Love I can get when working through something. In fact, I’ve often leaned on and gained strength from those expressions of Love. When someone shows their concern, I turn instantly away from thinking it’s making a reality of the situation to an uplifted recognition of the Love being expressed. And I thank them, wholeheartedly, for their support. Once that’s acknowledged, I can then perhaps explain that I’m fine, or things are getting better, or whatever other words might ease their concern. What’s important is the support being expressed, and accepting that support.
Third, there are practical issues associated with not feeling 100%. Sometimes we have to ask others to cover for us in our obligations, or they have to know we’re not entirely focused on a shared project. I think it’s important to be honest while being Truthful, if you know what I mean. Needing time for “rest” (when we mean focused prayerful study and treatment) makes sense to others and they will support it.
This isn’t to say I advocate the tell-all policy that many adopt when facing a physical crisis—long descriptions of suffering or medical procedures or comparing notes. This is not always helpful and can solidify the error in thought, although it does provide a form of support.
But I don’t believe normal humanitarian concern falls in the “harmful” category. From a public relations standpoint with regards to helping people see that the practice of Christian Science is rational and normal, I’d recommend being as normal as possible when hearing from well-wishers. Accept the love and support, and use it as a springboard to increase your confidence in ultimate healing.
Thoughts? Love you guys! Be sure to go back to prior questions this week, too, and check out the amazing comments. Great stuff.
Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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