You may read this post and wonder about the title and how it fits with what I’m writing about. Don’t worry, I will explain it.
Just a note before I start. I did an upgrade with Weebly on the site. I’ll be able to post videos now, you might have noticed that in last week’s posting. I also have a new website address: www.timkwrites.com. If you access my blog with the old address it will redirect you to here. And now onto my posting.
We’ve all heard the story of if you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out, but if you put it in cold water and gradually increase the temperature it won’t be aware of it and won’t jump out even as the water gets to boiling.
What if you reverse that? There are times in our life when our world is despair, hopelessness and brokenness. We’re in hot water and we can’t get out. It’s times like that when we need the heat turned down.
That was me during the final stages of Debbie’s battle with breast cancer and after she passed away. Looking back, I’m not sure how I got through it. It feels like it was a blur, but I also have some very clear memories of that time. In fact, I just had to pause in writing this as I remembered when a group of her students came over and sang to Debbie while she was in hospice. It was so beautiful that all I could do was run into another room and silently sob. And, of course, if the computer screen is all blurry through tears you can’t write.
What can we do for someone in that situation? We want to give them hope and encouragement. But you can’t say that. At that point, they’re focused on the moment and nothing else. Things in the future, like hope, don’t mean anything.
We need to lower the heat. We might not be able to do much, but if we lower the heat one degree we’ve made a difference. The other person might not notice it, but every little bit adds up. Eventually the heat is lowered enough that life becomes bearable.
I’ll tell you what helped to lower my heat, even though I didn’t notice it at the time. Every expression of support, every card that was sent, every hug, every meal that was delivered, every prayer, each of the over 400 people who came to the funeral brought the water to a lower temperature. Eventually, gradually, hope started showing up in my life again. The mourning doesn’t stop. Like a limb that is amputated that person isn’t coming back. But increasingly that stops being what defines your life.
Acknowledgment and support are the best ways to lower the heat.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge what someone is going through. You may not say the right thing, but at least you’re letting them know you’re concerned. Even a simple, “I’m sorry for what you’re going through” works.
You’ve read some of the things that people did to support me and my family. If you can think of something specific that you can do offer to do that. The old standard, “If you need anything, just let me know” is more of an acknowledgement since they don’t really know what they need.
Gratitude doesn’t seem like something that relates to what I’ve been talking about. But for me it does. I feel so much gratitude for the many people whose kindness and concern were manifested through their support of Debbie, my family and me. I feel truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.