Mark on the Move

The Elephant in the Room

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You know what it feels like when you socialize again with people you haven’t really seen since your illness began. You’re a little bit nervous about seeing everyone because you’re still not perfectly healed, but you’ve made a lot of progress.

Have you noticed that there appears to be a stigma, an unspoken concern, an “elephant in the room” kind of thing that happens when you show up at a gathering at church or at someone’s home? If you had two strokes like I did, the first thing you notice is that some people seem to feel it’s important to talk louder, just in case something is wrong with your hearing. Others will talk to you more slowly, like you may not be able to grasp what they are saying. Some might even come right out and ask if you have suffered any brain damage? Everyone seems to make assumptions about what you can or cannot do. It’s both embarrassing and frustrating.

These things happened to me and I can tell you I was a bit surprised to realize that having an illness also gave me a stigma, a sense that maybe I had done something wrong, something I should be ashamed or humiliated about. I mention this to you because if it happens to you, don’t let it bother you. Most of the time, your friends are just trying to be helpful. Some may not be as thoughtful as you’d like, but usually they mean well. You know what you’ve been through and by the grace of God you’ve gotten quite a bit better.

Your job is not to keep pace with those around you. Your job is to celebrate all that God has done and continues to do to make you whole again. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or says. You’re doing just fine!

“The LORD your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you.”
Zephaniah 3:17, NCV

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