You’ve heard the phrase often, “Don’t judge another man till you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”
It would be ideal if we could all understand, empathize with people regarding their particular challenges. It would mean so much if we could extend grace, mercy to others instead of scrutinizing their situation. It would be like Jesus if we could learn to get down in life’s messy situations and sit with our brother or sister in need. For if we were all completely honest we’d acknowledge that it’s those who reach out in tangible ways to demonstrate care that touch our hearts when we are broken.
I’ve too often been the one who’s not understood. I’ve doubted in my mind if a situation was really what the person made it out to be. I’ve allowed my skeptical thoughts to leak out in conversation to a person who’s not directly involved in the situation. I wish I could go back and change some things; I wish I could be assured that I won’t unknowingly hurt another person’s heart in the future . I realize I need Jesus to help me care like He does. I also realize I won’t get everything right from this day forward.
Can I say a few things in behalf of my fellow sisters who are struggling with the challenges that I’m facing?
- Allergies are not merely in someone’s head! Though each person’s response to a poor environment may look somewhat different they’re real enough to dissuade the individual from feeling able to put themselves continually back in that situation. My personal struggle has been tightness in my chest and my throat feeling like it was closing up. I’ll just say feeling like I can’t breathe is one of the scariest things I’ve known. I anticipate a day when the struggle here will be no more and I’ll have a new body freed from the limitations I’ve known on this earth.
- Until you’ve walked a mile in our shoes don’t feel the need to cast criticism. I realize this is equally true of any other situation. For example I don’t know what it would be like to battle cancer. I’ve had friends who’ve gone through it. One of my close friends died from the cancer that strangled her body. I didn’t have words to say or the latest remedy to offer her. I cried with her, prayed for her and asked Jesus to have mercy on her. No, I couldn’t relate to her pain in that I’ve been through it; there were others who could. I’m not saying that until you’ve experienced the same struggle you have nothing to offer. You have much to give: the gift of yourself, your time & your willingness to listen and not speak rashly. Yet there is nothing quite like walking through a trial and then being able to relate to anther who’s been where you are.
- Realize that we’re normal. You may not see my friends and I at various church activities. Please realize that this isn’t an indication that we’re socially a misfit or lack desire to attend and be with you. The truth is that we’ve wept numerous times that we’re not able to be a part of you. While we are able to meet together at my house Sunday mornings to pray and discuss the SS lesson, this doesn’t replace our longing to attend church services. We are seeking God, praying for His mercy on our lives and asking him to show us the way forward. We need our church family and keenly feel the loss.
- Please don’t feel the need to use high fragrance lotions or perfumes at all times. I’m not kidding when I say it really is a problem for some people. Don’t misunderstand; the majority of us back in the day enjoyed strong fragrances ourselves. (I used to have a candle in every room of the house, a bouquet of flowers on my table and aromatic perfumes that I used every morning. 🙁
I’ve only scratched the surface of some of the challenges that accompany those with environmental allergies. I’m speaking from my heart and ask you, the reader to extend grace and realize there is more than meets the eye in our situation.
God give us grace to face our challenges well and care for others who are on a journey they never imagined they would be.
A special thanks to my brother Eldon for capturing this snapshot of my nephew attempting to walk in my Father’s shoes!