Today, I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some vegetables. I was moving slow, since my pain level was high. As I went down one narrow aisle, a lady hurriedly tried to get past me. I did my best to quickly move the cart out of her way, but I wasn't fast enough. The lady let out a string of swear words....then she suddenly stopped. Her face turned red and she quickly started to apologize...she had seen my crutches. Her attitude changed when she realized that I wasn't trying to be in her way.
People can see that I have a disability because I use crutches. Yet, nearly 1 in 2 people live with an "invisible illness" (arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, MS, etc.). Many people may "look normal" from the outside. (We do try to look our best when we are out in public... don't you?) However, we suffer from pain, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, etc. And those illnesses effect our everyday activities. Next time you are shopping and someone slows you down, take a moment to think, "that person may be suffering from chronic pain or illness".
Perhaps you are the 1 in 2 people who doesn't suffer from an illness or pain; however, you know someone who does. Oh you might not "know" they have an illness, but there are some signs—if you think about it. They may cancel plans at the last minute. Or they leave the party earlier than most. Or they just move slower than you'd like. The signs are there—if you want to notice. If you'd like to know more about living with invisible illness or supporting your friends, check out: http://www.invisibleillness.com.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week September 13-19, 2010 is an annual event sponsored by Rest Ministries, (a Christian organization that specifically serves the chronically ill). The hope of the people involved at National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is to remind people that although they may feel like they are alone in their pain, there are people who do care and understand the unspoken language of invisible illness.
Today, I could have let my shopping experience ruin my day. But creating a positive day is about looking for the good in each situation. Today I was able to share God's love with a lady. And I was reminded again, that many people are dealing with an illness or pain, and each one deserves some kindness and a positive word.