Archive for the ‘chronic illness’ Tag

Chronic or Acute   Leave a comment

Chronic struggles bring with them a dual challenge.  Acute situations naturally call out for support and practical help.  And they should.  But a chronic situation is just as challenging.

The first reason why it’s challenging is it’s dealing with whatever it is, disease, physical disability,  pain, learning challenges, mental health issues, all of the above.  You have issues that either aren’t curable or that you haven’t yet found a cure for.  You remediate as best you can if there is no cure.  You have ways to cope, or you sure enough are seeking them.

And there’s no particular end in sight.

People in this situation have to find a way to face the non-endingness of it.  It’s a cruel thing to face, and I believe this is especially true in our culture, where health and wholeness is worshiped.  Beauty and prowess are it.  If you were to believe the images we are saturated with, you’d think it is possible–if you just do enough.

The second reason is that difficulties are not and cannot be supported in the way they would if they were acute.  If the thing had an end, it would be more obvious to know what to do to help it get to that end.  You’d see the steps that could be taken and how a community could help.  But if it’s always there, it’s harder to be supportive.  There comes a time when it’s hard to know what to say or do, because the struggle still goes on.

For those with chronic problems, it goes on.

So it’s a gift when love also goes on.

Posted February 20, 2020 by swanatbagend in health, mental health, waiting

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Chronic   Leave a comment

Do you have anything in your life like this?

If you’re like me, I’m sure you do.  No matter what it may be, it is something that does not diminish with time.  It’s something that does not seem to have a packaged, straightforward treatment.  It does not go to the doctor, come home with medication for pain and an antibiotic, then three days later go back to school/work.

It might be a disease.  It might be a habit you have wrestled with for years.  It may be a person you’re connected to who is difficult but whom you can’t abandon.  It might be money worries.  It might be the mess in your garage, or the yard work that never really gets done, or the pile of dirty laundry that completely covers your cracked cement basement floor.

Whatever it is, it’s chronic.  It’s not fixable today or this week.

You know what I mean?

Reflecting on my own life at the beginning of a new year, and wondering what will become of the chronic situations in my life during the course of the months to come, something else came to mind.

There’s all of this stuff, but, whatever else may be chronic, thank God that He is chronically good.

Posted January 7, 2017 by swanatbagend in gratitude, reality

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What Can It Do?   2 comments

How does the church respond to members of the body who live with chronic illness or disability?

How could it respond?

It’s a hard question to answer, because it is hard for anyone to know how to deal with chronic situations, that by definition are not going to go away, that may or may not get better.

In some ways, a crisis is more straightforward.  It can get a response from the body, because a straightforward response can be given.  If someone is in the hospital, very ill, or in an accident, obvious needs can be met — childcare, food, logistics, yard work, cleaning — all these areas can be picked up by other capable hands.

If someone has a serious illness, prayer is offered.  Healing is desired.  Often, it’s expected.  And practical help in the way of food and mowing the grass can be arranged.

If someone’s parent, spouse or child has died, practical help and comfort can be given.  If there’s divorce, an accident, a fire, a surgery, food is always good, and a listening ear helpful.

It gets messier and more confusing when there is no end in sight.  And that’s understandable.

If a person lives day in and day out in a wheelchair, or with chronic pain, or has a disease that is understood not to be curable, the situation becomes different, for several reasons.  A child with a disability, health problems that don’t resolve, ongoing financial problems, care-giving for a spouse or aging parent–these are all situations that won’t go away in a month or two.

I think the reason this is harder to address is because people love to help, but they would like to feel they brought about a solution.  They like results.

I don’t blame them.  We all want results.

The other reason is that chronic situations can become invisible.  The member of the body has to face the reality of the situation and find a way to go forward and live life.  They often do this so beautifully and bravely, learning through the trials to “keep on keeping on,” that the struggle they face may no longer be obvious.  They learn to cope, they find resources, they come up with a way to live or they die trying.  So, others walking alongside the person may not necessarily see the “thorn in the flesh.”

Honestly, those in chronic situations know these challenges are their own responsibilities.  They know nobody is going to be able to be able to waltz in with a casserole and fix the problem.  And they know that other people are understandably able to give them only so much.  Just because a person’s baby is born with Down’s syndrome doesn’t mean that person gets meals delivered every day for the rest of the child’s life.  It doesn’t work that way.

Yet–should the church ignore the struggle?


Of course not.  While tempering its response with the known reality, that unless God intervenes the situation is not going away, the church can offer love in a practical way–the same kind of love it would offer in an acute one.

Affirmation.  Prayer.  Encouragement.  Food.  Help with yard work, house work, errands, or childcare for other children.  All of these gifts can be given to one whose disease is probably not going to be cured, to one whose difficult situation is not going to just evaporate.

The body cannot minister as intensely in a situation that is chronic–but it can minister.

The circumstances will be different, but the love can be the same.

Posted September 16, 2015 by swanatbagend in the church

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