I looked through the “wide selection” of greeting cards in the hospital gift shop and couldn’t find the right card.
I’m a card person. I’m always on the lookout, because there are a couple people I regularly send cards for encouragement and a lot more I send cards from time to time. I like to look at greeting cards pretty much anytime I find a collection so I can keep some on hand. If I’m not regularly looking, I end up seeing the same cards again and again, so I like to try to access different brands.
Lately, I’ve particularly needed cards for encouragement through health issues. I usually look in the sections titled Encouragement, Thinking of You, and Get Well Soon. But so many say “get well soon” when that’s not really what I need to say. I’m not even sure if someone will get well, and if they do, it certainly won’t be soon. I’m not being pessimistic. It’s reality. Sure, anything can happen, but a cheesy get well card, no matter how heartfelt, just doesn’t seem appropriate when someone is dealing with a frustrating, exhausting, chronic, and likely terminal (whether that’s tomorrow or a year from now) disease. Yes, there is a Terminal Illness selection of cards sometimes, but I find most of those more depressing than the cheesy get well cards!
We need a Sobering Truth section of cards. Instead of putting a bandage or happy face sticker on something, we need to reflect reality. We need to encourage people to laugh, or challenge people toward a comprehensive heart check, or extend an invitation to cry. We need to allow people to process what’s going on in their lives and remind them we’re walking through the muck with them, or at least, we’re available as best we know how. We don’t have all the answers, but we have Hope. We don’t understand, but we can listen. We don’t need to throw a pity party but neither do we need to refuse to allow people to feel sorry for themselves for a moment.
I often end up editing greeting cards and almost always write a note to personalize the message. After all, the relationship is way more important than the folded piece of cardstock. So, maybe we don’t need more truthful greeting cards after all. Perhaps we just need to be more willing to seek, speak, and invite Truth into our relationships and the healing process.