Tips for giving—and receiving—visits in the midst of chronic suffering

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May 22, 2013 | Feature | Number 11
Compiled by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld,
  • Allow yourself to be open and vulnerable. People who suffer live with difficult questions. It is good to discuss them.
  • Simple presence is the most important part of a visit. Free yourself from unrealistic expectations of yourself and others.
  • Be gracious in giving or receiving a visit. Suspend judgment.
  • Ask about the sufferer’s day: What was significant? Just because he is in bed does not mean his day has been empty.
  • Refrain from assumptions of what the sufferer can or cannot do. Allow her to make those decisions.
  • Pay attention to the experience of family members.
  • Refrain from “fix-it” advice unless asked.
  • Understand that individuals who walk the road of suffering can be a treasure in the church. They may have wisdom to share because they have time for questions of faith and life in unique ways.
  • Remember that worth is not tied to what we do, but who we are.
  • Visits are two-way. Who gives and who receives is flexible.
  • Hearing what is happening in the lives of others is important. Sometimes visitor are afraid to share personal good news, but good news is life-giving.
  • Challenge yourself to celebrate the good moments in another’s life.

See also:  One family’s journey with chronic pain in “Where is God?”

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