The Healing Power of Togetherness

The Healing Power of Togetherness

I am constantly referencing the past 2 years of my life, because, the substantial lessons I got were: compassion/empathy, perseverance, hope, faith, and love. I have been a living witness to this steadfast truth, that ‘life is in circles’ — the carousel waltz of you being the “helper” and in a short space of time, the “helped.”
This experience inspires me to preach religiously on fellow feeling — the miracle that happens when we look through each other’s eyes and become our sister/brother’s keeper.

A year before I fell ill, I had the opportunity, through my House Fellowship to assist strangers with their hospital bills — we offered to pray in faith with them — it uplifted their spirit. After witnessing this act of communion, I decided and dedicated a part of myself to regularly support sick people, ministering in hope-filled words & finances.

Life reshuffled its self, and I became the person in need. I often laughed at the irony of how circumstances changed. But I am grateful for these shattering experiences as they impel me to be a transparent voice and a life-giving-faucet of encouragement for the weak and sunken souls.

I recognise that people who get diagnosed with any form of sickness might struggle with expressing their feelings, hoarding negative emotions drawn out from despair/anger/guilt, which will deplete any positive emotion left in them, causing a declining effect on their health.

Please, if you know anyone that’s sick: friend, family, colleague, acquaintance, give them the best support you can. Go beyond offering only prayers, or the familiar “It is well”— show the affection, kindness and peace of God — be present. It’s one of those purposive moments and space, where we can love one another. (1 John 3.18)

Many people do not know how to offer help because they are uncomfortable. Most times, when the dreadful news is shared with a concerned family/friend, out of shock/ peculiar emotions, they might unconsciously give a vague closing statement like, “If there’s anything I can do for you please ask/I don’t like hospitals/it is well.”

We need to go deeper with our feelings — deep communications are so healing!

Trust me, pride and the fear of rejection won’t allow most struggling souls admit that a load is too big for them. Accept that most of them won’t list out their needs, except there’s an extreme pressure for funds or medication.
Also, I believe embarrassment kicks in — the emotional/mental strain from being in need — that fear of being a burden holds them back.

I will outline various ways to be specific towards your desire to help:

  • Ask them for their needs, and how you can support them, no matter how little.
  • Visit them at home/hospital with food/water/drinkBe generous with your time: offer to drive them to the hospital/pharmacy for appointments/treatment, or you can get them a taxi and offer to pay.
  • If they have kids, you can offer to pick/drop them in school/babysit.
  • If they have pets, offer to take care of them.
  • Organise something fun to distract them from the illness (talk about the things they enjoy).
  • Offer to cook/deliver food/clean their room/do their laundry/grocery shopping.
  • Send them flowers/cards/comforting gifts and offer to help water their plants if they have any (Haha!)
  • Be a blood donor.
  • Ask questions: find out about their diagnosis, so you can better understand what they are going through (some people might not feel comfortable talking about it, but trust me, most will.
  • You will also be amazed at the little amount of support people need from you, that doesn’t equate to financial/material giving. A lot of sick people just need your company — to sit and hold their hands.

This act of generosity is more than enough.

You can also be generous with your sense of humour — laughter is the ultimate medicine — it releases healing endorphins & heals the bones. It might be a temporary fix, but it will penetrate their soul.
And if you offer to help and get declined, for example, they ask to be left alone, please try to respect their decision without taking it personal. Don’t be discouraged to offer support again in future — your concern is always valuable.

Being sick is extremely isolating as it separates people from normalcy. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. It’s only natural to isolate from other people and feel only comfortable around those that can relate to the pain and suffering you feel.

I need everyone reading this, to please understand that sick people need our support and comfort, our relieving affirmations, our prayers & fellowship, our love and gifts.
Comprehensively, what most hurting souls need is an assurance that they have a strong support system that’s willing to sustain & fight with them — knowing we are with them in every little way.

We are all facing our own life challenges. Life is quite hard, and surviving alone is a task. But we are all here on earth to serve each other, right? To lift each other — to hold each other’s hand — to support and love one another.

Taking care of a chronically sick person is one of the hardest thing to do, especially from the end of the family members/close friends. They might eventually start to feel burned out and will also need support from their community of friends. So, if you find yourself in this space, please set some time out to take care of yourself, ask for assistance/support from other family members/friends, and don’t offer to help with anything you don’t feel comfortable or confident doing.

Love, support, comfort and fellowship is truly healing.

P.S: If you have further suggestions on how we can support the sick, kindly leave a comment below.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Busayo
    March 14, 2018 / 9:12 pm

    Personally one of the things that hurt the most for me is that many times I was clueless as to how I truly felt sometimes my body wasn’t hurting but then my heart was hurting but I couldn’t quite explain why at the time and so when any of my care givers tried to find out why I was weeping and I couldn’t say why, I watched them get pretty upset and at the time I didn’t understand that it was just concern I felt like I was being burdensome. So I think care givers need to understand that often times chronic illness leads one into a dark place where even they are unable to understand themselves and it’s truly okay not to fully understand them either just let them know you’re there to listen whenever they eventually feel up to talking.

    Furthermore I do know a lot of times they mean no harm but please I find it truly painful when Christians question my faith or ask questions to ensure I am not “living in sin”, by the time I was on my fourth surgery I was genuinely questioning my faith myself but having someone else question it too was more hurtful, the thought would cross our “christianly” heart but please resist the temptation to say things like “if only you’ll have faith/are you sure there’s no sin in your life/are you praying about this thing”. It’s not that hard not to ask if you have these questions how about you spend time with them, share a story or scripture about faith with them and if they are indeed loosing faith they’d get the message, pray with them, pray for them but please don’t ask directly.

    Thank you for this very enlightening write up, it is always truly a journey both for the helping and the helped.

    • March 14, 2018 / 9:43 pm

      Thank you so much Busayo for adding this. A lot of people project religiosity on their sick friends/family/strangers because it seems like a quick fix, which isn’t ever as black & white as they have imagined. I got a lot of this throughly my trials.
      Someone told me if I was as spiritual as I am now, maybe I won’t have been sick/won’t struggle in sickness for so long.
      And of course theres always the repetitive faith-talk, which isn’t necessary bad. But there are better ways to fellowship like you have typed, better ways to stir someone’s hope.

      If you have digested the book of Job, you will site how his closest friends kept telling him why they think God must have cursed him with infirmities – they told him it was his fault. The story will illuminate your mind, that most people will respond this way – they will judge what they don’t understand, as a form of closure.
      Like sick poeole themselves truly understand what’s going on.

      Most people regurgitate what they see others do, and believe it’s right. And that’s why I itch for more platforms like this, where we can truly express our emotions and enlighten others.

      • Busayo
        March 15, 2018 / 6:41 am

        Exactly! You have started a conversation we truly need to have. Please keep at it.

  2. Leye
    March 15, 2018 / 3:30 pm

    He who wear the shoes know where it pinches. I have cared for the sick and I have been sick. Sick people needs encouragement to give them their strength that they will survive what they were going through, also the care giver need from the sick that the strength he or she is given will definitely lead to the survival of the sick. Yes, some people will put their religiosity before empathy but the sick or the care giver should not be discouraged.

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This is my story

Hey there, I am Nicole and this is my Survival Story in style.

I was living my best life, feeling quite balanced: physically, spiritually and emotionally, until May 2015 when I fell chronically ill with series of unrelated diagnosis. I eventually got a breakthrough in March 2017 with a provisional diagnosis: Inflammatory Myositis, an autoimmune condition.

It's been a whirlwind journey: from immense pain, to tears, laughter, love, comfort, fellowship, fear, confusion, anger, despondence.

And then, Hope.

Somehow, all the suffering I had to endure has lit my way and given me new courage to face and live my life victoriously and cheerfully.

I am grateful for this whole experience, as it has pivoted me into a different spiritual realm {The Zoe Life} and reshaped my general mentality about life.

This blog chronicles my walk through the valley and shadows. I will be giving my best to you, my readers, by stealing momemts to do the things I love: which is to share my catharsis through words & my complete passion for FASHION & STYLE, in hope that it will encourage and inspire you.

I hope we remain a community that support and uplift each other.