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.