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I Now Relate
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I first met the seasoned couple moving into their new apartment. Checking in on them to make sure all was fine, we struck up one of our first conversations. Little did I know, that conversation would blossom into something more—a rich and treasured friendship!

One of my first impressions of them—they seemed frail and riddled with various ailments. She, in constant pain from her infirmities, winced from pain at almost every meeting. In the back of my mind, I often wondered if some of it was psychological.

I had other friends that constantly complained about back or leg pains, and they too seemed whiny. A benefit of being friends afforded me the freedom of teasing, calling them babies and wimps and insisting that their ailments were nothing.

After being in an automobile accident, with a recovery so far going on six months, I now understand—more-so, I now relate!

Since then, I've experienced constant discomfort and fatigue. Sitting, standing, lying down all bring me discomfort in one form or another. I fully appreciate when someone says, "My back hurts."


Oftentimes, we judge people's situations based on lack of experience. We can't relate! Not until we experience something in our own lives do we fully appreciate what they've gone through. Once we have that experience, it allows us to take on new, significant, perspectives. But isn't this true in just about everything in life?

The story found in John 5 about the man lying besides the pool of Bethesda comes to mind. He faced two camps: one camp, like him, was so filled with ailments they could only think of themselves. Selfishly, they wanted their own infirmities gone and had no time for others who lay sick. The second camp comprised people like me who couldn't relate. Some probably walked by wondering if his sickness was in his head. Similar to the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, they didn't stop.

It took an accident to help me appreciate the words, "My back hurts." I no longer try to offer advice for every ailment someone may suffer, and I now appreciate more when someone speaks of an ache. But why does it take accidents to help us appreciate this? If only all of us were more willing to genuinely try to understand, as best as we can, what other people are going through. Perhaps then, we'd be more willing to lend a hand, and less willing to offer advice.

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By Daniel LaFlair. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

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