Some people surprise you, others don't. Some people know what to say, when to say it, and when to be quiet. Others don't know what to say, or say too much, or say something and don't mean it. That's just the way it is.
The real trick is in handling myself. After all, I can't control other people, not directly at least. Most of the time, I can't even seem to control myself. But, when I pause and reflect, when I practice mental monitoring, progressive relaxation and other self-help techniques, sometimes I can make a difference.
Friends - I have a few who are or have gone through tough times. Maybe not surprisingly they are the ones who seem to say or do the appropriate thing when confronted with my battle with cancer. In turn, I can sometimes listen more empathetically to them when they decide to share their own troubles with me. As Shel Israel might say, it's about conversation...yes, but it's also about compassion. The give-and-take, whether skilled or not, makes the compassion easier.
Family - I have a large family, some of whom write, call, or otherwise make it clear that they share concern for my wellbeing. Some are remarkably capable in knowing what to say and how to say it. Others are not experienced or skilled or, perhaps, even aware that something should be said. That's just the way it is.
But for those this week who wrote, called, took me out for coffee and a chat, prayed, or even gave some thought, thanks.
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