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September 7, 2023 3:30 am
Drive By Diagnosis
The term "Drive-By Diagnoses" accurately captures the shared experiences of countless caregivers. It's as though passersby morph into experts, leaning out the window to offer advice on caring for loved ones, irrespective of their connection or expertise. Comments like "Have you considered a new drug?" or "I know someone who swears by this" often emerge. One might even stumble upon stories of the latest extract from a miracle plant thriving solely in some guy's backyard in New Guinea.
Worse still, discussions occasionally veer into divine judgment, implying wrongdoing as the cause of affliction. "What did you do that God would do this to you?!"
Despite many of these drive-by assessments arising from an unfortunate blend of ignorance and hubris, a few spring from well-intentioned hearts - albeit with clumsy delivery. Navigating unsolicited guidance proves a challenging path for caregivers. Fueled by desperation for relief, caregivers often teeter on the precipice of panic, and it takes little to drive them to yet another mirage in the desert of suffering.
However, caregivers gradually realize that genuine comfort doesn't sprout from the latest potion, pill, or charismatic figure waging war on television against the "demon of sickness." Peace emerges when embracing difficulties with measured acceptance while selecting the companionship of those who walk alongside with compassion and humility - rather than merely hurling suggestions as they drive by.
Scriptures remind us that even walking “…in the valley of the shadow of death," fear diminishes in God's presence. Yet, while God offers assurance, many opt for speculation and suggestions. Life remains rife with pain, suffering, solitude, and heartache – inescapable facets of the human journey. The book of Job teaches that more is going on than we can possibly understand – and hearts find strength, and circumstances become bearable when intentional companionship transcends uninvited consultations.
“Unsolicited advice is the junk mail of life.” – Bernard Williams