The upside to all the turmoil is that the new place and neighborhood are totally worth what we went through to get here. The new house is wonderful, and once everything is unpacked and we are comfortable, we are going to be very happy here. We did take the time to walk around the neighborhood yesterday morning and were pleasantly surprised at how friendly and nice everyone is. Hey, I even had a positive experience with the local CVS! In fact, the day we moved in we got a visit from a neighbor with a "welcome basket" full of goodies (Irish Soda Bread and candy) as well as some really useful information like a local map, the local newspaper and a pamphlet about the town and all the activities and organizations it offers. It was so sweet and thoughtful, and believe me we have used each item in it already. It was ironic, because for the 2 years we lived in our house in North Carolina we made a welcome basket for each new neighbor, and not only did we not receive one when we moved there, we were never even thanked for doing it. Now if you are from North Carolina, please don't be offended, I am not picking on you. I think that is more the norm now in most parts of the country than what we experienced here. I didn't take it as a reflection on North Carolinian's, more on the state of affairs in our country as a whole. We have lost a sense of community and neighborliness.
All of this rambling leads me back to thinking about how difficult it can be to find help when we need it due to illness. Everyone is so busy these days with their own lives, that a lot of the time they don't think about the fact that people are in need of help, or they feel so overwhelmed by their own circumstances they don't offer to do for others for fear they will get locked into something they can't keep up with. During Invisible Illness Awareness Week, I found out about and was able to download the first 40 pages of Lisa Copen's book, "Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend". What a treasure this book is, both for us who are chronically ill, and for those who care about us! It has really concrete ideas of things people can do to help friends who suffer from chronic illness, and she addresses the time concern factor with terrific ideas that take as little as 5 minutes to bigger time commitments should one be able to make them. I am ordering multiple copies to give to friends, family and church members. Maybe I am a Pollyanna, but I truly believe most people WANT to help, they just don't have any idea WHAT to do so they end up doing nothing, or doing something - while nice, which might not be the thing we really need.
I feel encouraged that with this move we are going to be able to start to build a better support system for ourselves, and to be a support to those we meet as well. As I mentioned in my post about being a friend, we have to model the behavior we want to receive. Sometimes when we are in pain or very fatigued, we have a tendency to think that people should just know what we want or need. Not only isn't that fair to others, it is self defeating as well. How can someone meet your expectation if you never state it clearly?
Before I end this post, I am excited to announce that Rosalind Joffe, author of "Women, Work and : Keep Working,