September 19, 2014

Responding With Sarcasm: Diabetes Edition


Tell me, what was your impression after reading the above pictures? Let me tell you how I felt. I felt embarrassed. Embarrassed for myself and embarrassed for the type 1 diabetes community. I found all of these pictures on pinterest, out there for everyone to see. Some of the basic concepts behind these pictures, I agree with. I mean, a dental hygienist did tell me recently that his cat had type 1 diabetes. Obviously, he knew what I went through every day. Which, he doesn't. To tell the truth, you usually don't know what a type 1 diabetic goes through every day unless you are one or are very close to someone who is. But, let me get to my point here...
You ask why these pictures create a sense of embarrassment in me. It's because I think they're incredibly mean! I think they are uncalled for. They demoralize people who do not have diabetes and only want to learn more about it, or are only trying their best to help. The meme about ALS also makes me mad. Type 1 diabetes is an awful disease. I'm not saying it's not, but ALS is also a very awful, debilitating disease. With ALS, there is gradual destruction of nerve cells that control motor movement. Eventually, the person can't move, but is still cognitively intact. In some ways, it is worse than type 1 diabetes. The sense of entitlement to the statement in that picture blows me away. I participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge, and I would do it over and over again. They deserve awareness just as much as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation deserves awareness.
This is the way I look at it. I always have people asking me questions about my diabetes, people trying to relate to me when I tell them I have diabetes, people trying to make it better. I appreciate those efforts, even if they aren't on the right track. Maybe it's because I'm almost a nurse, but I take those opportunities and turn them into teaching moments. I turn them into moments where I can teach somebody about the nature of my disease instead of making fun of them for trying to understand it. They are only people who are trying to reach out to me in an impossible situation. I mean, how do you make a chronic disease better? I don't look down on people trying to learn. I don't look down on people who are only trying to help.
Now, I understand the frustration behind these pictures. Believe me, I do. And I assume that making these "funny" pictures are a way of coping with the societal implications of having diabetes. But, being sarcastic to the person whose educational level on diabetes isn't quite on the level of yours? Absolutely not. They don't live with the disease, they don't know. This society is very focused on type 2 diabetes, which is fine! Type 2 diabetics are still dealing with a disease and there is so much information out there about it. People often default to thinking I have type 2. But there are no excuses to make fun of people who only need some education about the differences.
This is my rant about these pictures on pinterest. I know this doesn't apply to most of you, but I just wanted to get it out there. Be careful about replying with sarcasm to people who truly are only trying to help and understand. Take the opportunity to educate people. And keep me accountable! I don't want to become a diabetic who responds with sarcasm and bitterness. I often respond in laughter because after having diabetes all these years, I have to find humor in the everyday struggle. I laughed about that dental hygienist comparing me to his cat, after I left, of course. But that is very different than responding with sarcasm. There's nothing I love more than being able to share my struggle with diabetes with someone else and how God has been there the whole time to pull me out of those dark places. God keeps me going. Thanks for reading!
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
-Romans 5:3-5

September 4, 2014

Returning the Favor

So, this subject just kind of came on my mind this morning. And, I must say, it is frustrating. I see it and hear it every day; some days it frustrates me, some days I go right along with it.

We are so inundated by making ourselves happy in this world. And, I don't mean following your dream or anything like that. That's great. I'm talking about our relationships with people. I read a quote by Meryl Streep on facebook that somebody shared that frustrated me a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I love Meryl Streep, she's one of my favorite actresses, but think to yourself...see how many quotes you have read that sound like this:

I'm not going to be patient with people who aren't patient with me.
I'm not going to do things that make me unhappy.
I'm not going to give the time of day to people who don't give me the time of day.
I'm not going to love people who don't take the time to love me.
Life is short, I should not have to deal with people who are mean to me.

All of these statements are looking out for one thing:   ME.
These ideals have been born out of American idealism and self promotion. I don't know if these statements ever strike you as self-indulging. They do for me. If you take a minute to think about these statements, you have to take a minute and think about the person on the other side of that. Sure, I agree that spending time with people who are mean or who are bad influences isn't probably the smartest plan, but not associating with those people at all? Chances are, they need someone to talk to. Chances are, they've had it rough. Now, we've all had it rough, but nobody copes in the exact same way. Bullying is awful. But the bullies you hear about usually have a rough home life, or they're acting out because a family member just died. I'm not condoning their actions. They are wrong, and they really don't have an excuse, but some just need a person to hold them accountable, to love them through it. Those people that "don't deserve your time" probably need someone more than ever. As Christians, I feel as though we should set the example and take the time to love those who don't love us. We should take the time to "deal" with people who aren't the nicest. We should be patient with those who don't return the favor. It's all one big cycle and sometimes you can change a person's life by being present. It is just something to consider in a world where self promotion and self indulgence is an everyday presence.

Obviously, every person is a different case. But, I'm just telling you to take these statements with a grain of salt. Some people, no matter how hard you try, just aren't going to be ready to listen to you. Those people may need some time, but that doesn't mean you drop them completely and no longer give them the time of day. For your own sake, sometimes you need to take a break from those people, but telling them they're not deserving of your love, time, or energy? Maybe not, but let's not forget... technically we aren't worth God's love, time, or energy. That's what redemption is for. And that's why we need to be grateful for Him giving us those blessings every day. It's hard to reciprocate good things to people who treat us badly. I know, I struggle with it too. I also have to improve on it. I have this attitude without even realizing it at times. Take a moment out of your day and read the bible verse below. I read it and had to include it as it speaks exactly to this issue.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
-Luke 6:32-36

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