If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

What is wrong with people?

What thought process is involved in deciding to tell your horror story to someone who is facing a scary situation, anyway? Is it just lack of social skills? Is it your way of trying to convince that person that you know what they’re going through? Can you just not resist the urge to try to one-up the person in question? Do you really think it’s helpful to tell your so-and-so died from story?

I’ve dealt with my share of those folks over the past couple of years. Fortunately, I’m just stubborn enough to think that the rules don’t necessarily apply to me. You say your great aunt Millie puked for 12 solid years from chemo? Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean I will. I might, but doggone it, I’m going to try to figure out how to avoid that. Your 3rd cousin’s uncle’s sister died from The Cancer at exactly the same age I am? Thanks for that nugget of encouragement, but I really don’t have time to be getting killed off right now.

Like I said, it kind of rolls right off of me, and gee, at least I have something to blog about, right? In fact, if you ever see me dealing with someone like that, just picture a cartoon thought bubble over my head that says, “I am SO blogging you when I get home.” So, it doesn’t really bug me when that stuff happens to me, but it does send me over the edge when I see it happen to someone else. Especially when it’s done in a public forum so that their family has the opportunity to be collateral damage.

A very important person in my life is facing a big, scary surgery tomorrow. Pastor Mark is in his early 50’s and on Wednesday, he’ll be having open heart surgery. He has a page on Caringbridge where folks can keep track of his condition and leave messages of support. Unfortunately, some folks’ idea of support is “Blah, blah, big scary, surgery, blah, scary, painful surgery, blah blah blah. Did I mention scary and painful blah blah blah?” I’m sure Pastor Mark will let stuff like this roll right off, and so will his wife, Debbie. But they have 3 kids, who I’m sure will probably read this stuff, too. And that’s upsetting to me. Because the situation is tense and scary enough on it’s own without help from the drama mongers.

So again, I ask, what is the thought process involved in deciding to tell your horror story to someone facing a scary situation? I’m all about telling someone the truth, but maybe some folks need to wait a minute before they open their mouths. Just sayin’. If you’ve been through the same thing, tell the person, and then wait for them to ask for details. And if you’re not sure whether you should say something that you’re thinking or not, then you probably shouldn’t. Let the person know you care, but keep it light, okay?

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I’m sure that Pastor Mark would appreciate any prayers y’all would want to offer on his behalf. If you’re praying for him, please leave a comment saying so. Debbie reads my blog, and I’m sure they’d both be encouraged to see some love on here.