When Not Helping Hurts, But It Also Helps
by Wesley Little
I am not to sure if Fikkert and Corbett (authors of When Helping Hurts) would be to pleased on the play of words I used for their wonderful book to write this article but I believe by the end of this read you will see just how appropriate this title is.
For those of you who do not know, my beautiful wife has been diagnosed with gastroparesis, gastritis and pancreatitis. These conditions range from mild to severe. In my wife’s case all three are severe. These conditions have forced their way into our lives totally rearranging every fabric of it. My goal is to inform our friends and family, our brothers and sisters and all who care about us how to help us at this time.
Scripture screams loud to us that we will endure hardships. Scripture stands on the top of Mt. Everest and screams at those with ears to hear that suffering will come. However, it is always a surprise when it does come. I will not lie when my wife was diagnosed over a year ago and started getting sick I was surprised! If you ever get the chance to meet my wife, if you ever get the chance to sit down with her for even five minutes of your life you will see quickly what type of person she is. She is just a wonderful human being. She is so selfless that sometimes I am convicted by the blatant selfishness I have as her life is a constant reminder of how I should be as a lover of God.
My family is blessed to have a wonderful support team. A team that knows how to help us. A team that knows how to ask me the right questions when I am feeling defeated. A team that knows how to ignore Linh and do what is best for her (like taking her to the hospital against her will). This team was created through life long relationships and through Redemption Communities that have moved beyond the surface and into the depths of one another’s lives.
Only being a year and a few months into this my wife and I are still learning how to adjust our lives and truly live in this. I mean this is our life now. Have you ever got a new job and had to take some time adjusting to it? Have you ever had to move to a new house, city, or state and think to yourself “wow this is my new life now?” That is exactly where we are at. This is not a fly over night illness. This is not a cold that she can shake. This is not the flu. This is not something that can be surgically removed or replaced. This is a LIFESTYLE. So Linh and I are in the place where we are accepting that this is our new life. This is where we now live. The key to that last statement is the word LIVE. Yes we are still living.
Now this is where I talk to you. For most people around us they cannot accept the fact that this is now our life. To be honest their optimism of our situation is somewhat offensive. When you are in a boxing match even if you are winning the fight it still hurts when you get punched. The last thing the boxer wants to hear is that eventually things will get better. I mean how does the ring manager know that? What if the boxer goes back into that ring and gets knocked out because he was optimistic to the point of his or her own detriment. The best advice the ring manger can give is to KEEP FIGHTING. So here is what Linh and I ask of you:
Please just continue loving us as we live in this. Try to listen when we do have the right words to convey. Please understand why we are not as active or involved in things as much. Please pray for our strength as a family. Yes pray that God will heal Linh but also pray that God will guard my wife and my relationship. Pray that God will protect the sensitive hearts of my children. Also please Pray that God will increase our faith.
Finally this is “When Not Helping Hurts, But It Also Helps”.
When reaching out to Linh and I please let us know that you are thinking about us. Let us know that you are praying for us and even at times missing us (because we may not be as readily available anymore). However, let us know that you love us without feeling the pressure or need to offer a lending hand all the time. I know that it is out of love and good faith that many of you respond to our distress with the statement “If there is anything I can do” but when there is absolutely zero things anyone can do (including Linh and I) outside of petitioning God it gets a little taxing on us.
So in that regard not being able to help us physically does hurt you, I know it does. I know you care deeply about my family and I and you want to make sure that we know you are here for us. However, loving us deeply in the moment is how to really help us. Hugs when you see us. Smiles and holy kisses. Asking about our welfare without feeling the burden of shouldering all the massive weight, that has been a key in our weathering this storm. So in essence this is when:
Not Helping Hurts [you], But It Also Helps [us].