Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
Someone Else's Lunch Looks Better than Our Own
Please take a minute or so & think about a time when you were about 7-11 years old. Specifically, do you remember the lunches that your Mom or caregiver packed for you to take to school? Were you usually happy with the contents of your Fred Flintstone, Batman, Spiderman, Bugs Bunny, Princess Belle or other lunchbox? How come? Many people will say that opening the lunchbox at school was not exactly the highlight of the day. Frankly, I feel badly for my Mom because I was a “picky eater.” We can laugh together if you at one time shared this trait too. Maybe you used to be in that secret club that did not like anything touching on your plate. Perhaps you were the person that enjoyed ketchup on pretty much everything. Funny, the memories that you retain sometimes, isn’t it? Speaking of ketchup as a wee aside, my youngest boy cousin used to insist on a lunch daily of ketchup sandwiches as a kid! Sitting across from him at lunchtime was well, not a highlight while watching him savor those sandwiches.
When I was in around 7-11 years old, I detested sandwiches. I could endure one yet only if there was no butter on the bread. My policy as a kid was that butter was reserved for melting over popcorn or corn on the cob. Anyhow, that dislike of sandwiches was a challenge for my Mom as I was growing up. My heart goes out to her especially now that I am a Mom too making lunches. Our Dear Heart second born son is the “picky eater” within our family. He seems to have inherited my distain for sandwiches. Lunches for him are an exercise in creativity that’s for sure! The additional challenge though is that he is a bit of a moving target where his taste buds are concerned. One day he will thoroughly enjoy a dish & the next time it is made, he will insist that he loathes it entirely! Some days he will come home from school & tell me how yummy his buddy’s lunch looked. I ask him on those days what it was about the friend’s lunch that made it look so good to him. Some days he will say something like he admired the lunch because it had fresh cucumbers in it. Suffice to say, the next day I would put fresh cucumbers in his lunch & you guessed it…the cucumbers returned home untouched at the end of the day. Oh well, no one ever proclaimed that raising children is a cinch yet it is one of the most precious callings parents will ever have in this lifetime.
All this talk about lunch is likely either making you feel hungry or leaving you with that adult saying/feeling of, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” In other words, someone else’s lunch just somehow looks better than our own.
Okay, how in the world, Saundie, are you going to link up this analogy with diabetes or other 365 challenges? May I start out by suggesting that “you don’t try this at home, folks?” I am referring to a pitfall that I am about to share with you. It is not my intention to share this story or suggestion with you to sound “preachy” or give unsolicited advice. Rather, let’s look at the story with the spirit of the image of someone else walking through a minefield & encouraging friends to avoid walking that path out of care & compassion. When we have diabetes or another 365 challenge, we can land in the pitfall or mine of thinking and even saying something like this to a loved one who does not have the illness: “you wouldn’t understand because you don’t have this.” These words are very likely to lead to a division & most likely to hurt feelings. Early on in my initial days with type 1 diabetes, my blood sugars were frustratingly high. I don’t know about you but when my glucose is excessively high, my patience is low. I remember times when my husband was attempting to help out with my diabetes care & my reaction was less than appreciative. Worse than that, I remember the words coming from me of “you would not understand how I feel because you don’t have diabetes.” The look on my Dear Heart’s face is one that remains with me as a guidepost of remembering to never utter those words again. How helpless he must have felt to hear those words. Of course having our health back would be amazing. Still though, we do not want to divide ourselves from our loved ones who do not have diabetes or a 365 challenge. It also goes without saying that we are grateful that our loved ones & friends don’t have diabetes. We don’t want to look at their health in a divisive way or like another person’s lunch. Yes, we have a health challenge, yet we get to choose to expand our world in care & compassion as a result of our challenge. That is how we give our challenge meaning. We did not ask for a health challenge. It is here though & now we decide what to do “with” it. You can bet that I immediately hugged my husband & told him I was sorry with all my heart & soul. And you can be sure that I have not uttered the words, “you don’t understand because you don’t have diabetes” in the past 5 years. My promise is to never say those words again. My husband has on countless occasions told me that he would take this health challenge on in a heartbeat in my place. I believe him with all my soul. And of course I would not want this for him or anyone else. I think you & I know that we are stronger than our health challenges or any challenge that comes our way. We may stumble briefly, yet we will get back up & be stronger still. There is a famous quote that says, “fall down 7 times, get up 8.” That’s the human spirit.
When we are tempted to blurt out to someone else that they certainly don’t “get it” because they don’t have diabetes or another health challenge, let’s press our pause button. Let’s be ready just in case. Let’s remind ourselves that those words are not going to help anyone. Definitely, we have the need to express our frustrations with either diabetes or other challenges. Let’s start the sentence with something like, “man, can I tell you how frustrated I am about diabetes today…” If we start off by saying, “you wouldn’t understand because you don’t live with this”, it is very likely that the other person is going to at the very least stop listening. We don’t want that. I don’t want that for you or me. Let’s decide to forbid diabetes from separating us from our friends & loved ones. We are stronger than diabetes.
We are adults so we get to pack our own lunches. We don’t choose to look at someone else & think or say that his or her lunch looks better. This is in parallel to our choices when it comes to sharing our frustrations with diabetes or other health challenges. Yes, let’s go ahead & share yet keep the sharing in the spirit of union, community & human kindness.
Smiles, Saundie :)
Have a beautiful weekend & looking forward to sharing time with you again this coming Monday with the writing of "Keep Your Compass Close" :)