Before I begin today’s post, I want to ask you guys to say a prayer for Christopher’s brother & sister-in-law. They just found out that they lost their baby and will be going to the hospital to deliver this week. Please pray for them as they navigate this devastating loss and for our family as we grieve with them.

I’ve mentioned before that we spend our Monday nights with our friends from Syria. What began as an ESL tutoring relationship has turned into a wonderful friendship. I’ve had a couple of people ask me about it so I wanted to share a recent story with you guys.

Last week we were laughing about how Christopher gets woozy when dealing with blood or needles (my favorite story to tell is the one about how one time I got a shot and he nearly passed out from watching).

Our friend was sharing that a long time ago she too was like that. A spot of blood on a band aid would make her head swim. We all laughed together in this light hearted moment and then her husband piped up explaining why she is no longer bothered by blood.

“War. Ever since the war, ***** (her name) is no longer bothered by blood.”

For them it was just a fact of life. A reality in which they have lived. They continued on with the conversation about funny stories of how she used to be so light headed about blood while both Christopher and I were trying to hide our shock.

We know that we lead privileged lives. That there are so many people around this world who are living such harder lives than we do. Even people in our own city. We try to always be mindful of that and to not take any of it for granted. And to bless as many people as we can along the way. But there is a big difference between having that general awareness and sitting face-to-face with someone who has lived through tragedy we can’t even begin to imagine.

Last week was a difficult one for me. The news I got from the doctor wasn’t what I wanted to hear. And honestly, it would be easy to dwell on that. But spending time with these friends puts things into perspective for me. And reminds me to focus more on my blessings and less on the hurts in this life.

When we first began ESL tutoring with this family we were so far out of our comfort zone. There were lots of awkward silences as we tried to navigate how to communicate with each other when we didn’t speak the same language. But it has absolutely been worth working through those awkward moments to come to the point where we are now. If you have any interest in helping out with refugees in the US, let me know! I’m happy to help point you in the direction of more information. 🙂

Do you get woozy when dealing with blood or needles?

Have you had a similar experience where life was put into such sharp perspective?

EDIT to add: To clarify, I think it is so important to take time to grieve sad things in our lives. I wrote about that here last summer. When I got that call from the doctor, I cried. I then talked to Christopher about it and cried again. I do have the tendency to minimize things in my personal life, but that has never worked out well for me (it just builds until it’s overwhelming then all hits me at once). So I try to give myself space and time to be sad about sad things in my life. But I also know that it’s not healthy for me to stay in that place. I need to take some time to be sad about it, but then I need to carry on. Depending on what has happened and the severity of it kind of depends on how long that period of “sadness” or grief is. And sometimes it comes and goes. In this case – it wasn’t the worst news I’ve gotten in the past couple of years. Just discouraging. I needed to have a few sad moments and then move on. And for me the best way to do that is to look at all the good things in my life. To be reminded of all I have to be thankful for. And in this past week’s case – all the things I take for granted as well. Hopefully that makes sense. Sometimes when you’re feeling all the feelings, it’s hard to convey everything you mean in one blog post. Thanks for having grace for me today, friends. 🙂  

Love Rach

49 responses to “Perspective

  1. I’m so sorry to hear that about your BIL & SIL. Hoping they get through this tough time with lots of family and friends supporting them.

    That really does put things in perspective. Seeing news about how bad it is in Syria makes me want to cry. People who want to block any refugees who may be Muslim (or even ‘look’ Muslim) make me so angry. Turning a blind eye is not okay.

    I was always very nervous about needles/blood. I’ve actually had blood drawn a couple of times recently and it wasn’t that bad. I would never willingly do it…like donate blood…but I don’t freak out so much anymore.

    • I think for some people it’s so easy to want to protect the people that you love most that it can be hard to look past the stereotypes that the media puts in front of you. Obviously I’m on the let’s-give-refugees-a-safe-haven side of the coin, but I know several people who feel very oppositely on the matter. And it’s not like they are hateful people. I think it’s just easy to get caught up in what the news tells you to believe and to never get to know someone who is different than you. We have a friend who originally thought we were crazy for doing this and the more we’ve talked to him about this family and what they’re like, the more his attitude has changed. I think for some people, they need to see faces and hear names and stories to get it, you know? Again, I’m with you on wanting to provide a safe haven for refugees, but I try to be as understanding as I can toward people who feel differently on the matter.

      So glad your recent experiences with blood draws weren’t that bad! That’s such great news! I used to get super faint every time someone started to take my blood, but I’ve had it done so much in the past couple of years that I don’t even blink now. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’m not sitting there watching them take it (like some of my friends), but I can handle it now much better than I could before. Hopefully any future blood draws you deal with will only get easier and easier! 🙂

  2. Loss is hard! Praying for your family. Definitely take time to grieve and find closure and seek God.

  3. Oh no!! I am so sorry to hear about your brother and sister in law. That is so sad and devastating 😦 And I am sorry to hear about your bad news at the dr too. Hope you are doing well!

    I hate blood and needles. I have to get my blood taken often, especially now that I have been pregnant…and it never gets any easier. I have to look away and I turn like ghost white. The nurses are always asking me if I am ok. Ha.

    • I used to be like that too! I always had to look away otherwise I’d get super faint. I can’t tell you how many times I embarrassed myself by nearly passing out after a simple blood draw and would have multiple nurses standing around fanning me until I was back to myself. SO embarrassing, haha! I’ve had my blood taken a lot in the past couple of years, though, so I’ve gotten far more used to it now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m still not sitting there staring at the needle while they take my blood, but at least I don’t try to pass out on them anymore, ha! Hopefully you’ll just continue to get more and more used to it so that soon it won’t bother you at all!

  4. oh, i am so sorry to hear about your in laws. that is so upsetting. and i am sorry about your news from the doctor as well. hugs girl. xxxx

    i am not woozy or anything around blood – my nose has been bleeding since before i could walk so i am very comfortable around blood. not the biggest fan of needles because they hurt haha but they aren’t the end of the world.

    honestly though? just because someone has it worse doesn’t mean your hard isn’t hard. you’re allowed to be sad or mad or any of the feelings. someone will always have it worse, and someone will always have it better. i mean, i definitely try and keep things in perspective when comparing my life to someone’s drastically different, but that doesn’t make your pain any less painful, you know? xxx

    • What you’re saying is definitely true. I should have clarified that better. When I got that call from the doctor, I cried. I then talked to Christopher about it and cried again. And then talked to a couple of friends about it (where I got all teary eyed and emotional). I do have the tendency to minimize things in my personal life, but that has never worked out well for me (it just builds until it’s overwhelming then all hits me at once). So I try to give myself space and time to be sad about sad things in my life. But I also know that it’s not healthy for me to stay in that place. I need to take some time to be sad about it, but then I need to carry on. Depending on what has happened and the severity of it kind of depends on how long that period of “sadness” or grief is. And sometimes it comes and goes. In this case – it wasn’t the worst news I’ve gotten in the past two years. Just discouraging. I needed to have a few sad moments and then move on. And for me the best way to do that is to look at all the good things in my life. To be reminded of all I have to be thankful for. And in this past week’s case – all the things I take for granted as well (like not living in a war zone and having to flee my home while losing friends and family all around me). But you are so right that just because someone else has it worse off than I do doesn’t mean that my grief isn’t still valid. Hopefully this is making sense.

      You know, Christopher has had nose bleeds since he was a kid as well and for some reason, that’s totally fine with him. Seeing his own blood doesn’t bother him, but he can’t handle other people’s blood or seeing needles at all. It’s kind of pitifully hilarious. 😉

  5. So sorry to hear about your brother-in-law and sister-in-law. 😦 Definitely praying for them! Also, that story about the war really does put things in perspective. I know I so often forget how easy I have it compared to others. Hugs!

  6. Thinking of your family! It’s amazing to think of how you take certain things for granted while others are dealing with such horrible situation. Definitely a good reminder!

    • Most definitely! I was talking to a girl last night who spent some time in Africa this summer and talking to her reminded me of life in China and all the things I said I would never take for granted when I moved to the States (like hot showers and air conditioning). But of course, it’s been 12 years now so I take a lot of things for granted without even realizing it. It’s always good to be reminded again.

  7. Many many prayers for your SIL and BIL. What a difficult path they have ahead, so sorry for their loss.

    Thank you for sharing this today. I think there was so much in the news about Syrian refugees and how horrible it was to let them come here, etc etc, and we sometimes forget that these are real people. I know we can’t fix all of the world’s problems, so I’m torn sometimes on when we as a country need to step in and when we need to just take care of ourselves. I couldn’t imagine being born in a country where I would get used to the sight of blood and war and death.

    I am not good with needles. I have to look away. I can see blood like on a scrape or even people giving blood as long as I don’t see the needle.

    • I so understand what you mean about that delicate balance of when a nation should step in to another nations’ affairs (especially when it comes to war). I have a lot of mixed feelings on that. But for the refugees who are here on American soil now, I want them to feel safe and to have the easiest possible transition to life in America. And for us, this is our way to help out a little.

      And I am so with you on the needles thing!

  8. First, I will be praying for your family. Heartbreaking.
    Second, I just have felt so full of gratefulness lately for my life and all that I have, even where I live and what I am privileged with. This is a good reminder of that. It’s so easy to forget about all that is going on around the world, even in our own cities, with people who are hurting. I have been wanting to shout LOOK TO JESUS to everyone I meet, but I don’t know how to do that in a way that won’t have them thinking I’m a total nut (not because I care about what they think of me [although honestly I do a bit] but because I want to impact them and not have them run away because I’m crazy). Anyway, thanks for sharing this. I would be interested in knowing some ways to help the refugees. I don’t know if we are able to help right now, but I honestly hadn’t thought about it seriously and it is so wonderful that you guys are helping in that way.

    On a less serious note, I can handle needles okay. They’ve never really bothered me. And I thought I could handle blood ok, but a few weeks ago R had her first experience falling, and her gum busted a bit and she was bleeding and I totally lost it and was like “ohmygoshohmygosh” and was basically useless so, that doesn’t bode well for me. Ha!

    • Amanda, I loved this comment. I love hearing how you are so aware of the blessings surrounding you right now. I love those moments when you are just so overwhelmed by all the blessings in life that you want to share Jesus with everyone.

      We are volunteering through World Relief which doesn’t have an office in Oklahoma, but their website has a bunch of resources! So maybe check that out and see if anything on their lines up with something you’d like to be involved in now.

      Oh no! Poor R! Sounds like that was probably more traumatizing for you than for her. I bet it was just a one time thing and the next time you’ll be just peachy-fine! 🙂

  9. gosh i am so sorry to hear about your family! what a hard thing to go through. man, life is hard. i am always grateful for how blessed i am, despite my own relative difficulties. in the big picture, i just haven’t had the hardships that many have had and i get scared that my turn is next, you know? and on a lighter note! i don’t get woozy from blood, but needles and fleshy things get me badddddd. i almost passed out watching a friend get her nose pierced once!

    • Girl, I know enough about some of the things that you have been through to know that you have definitely not always had it easy. I think your relationship with Jesus has been a big part of why you handle things so well!

      And yes, needles are definitely rough to watch at work. I understand that!

  10. I’m so sorry about your BIL & SIL and your test results. Praying for them and you!

  11. Praying for your BIL and SIL – and for you and Christopher, sweet girl!

    Your Monday night group sounds like such a blessing – not only for them but for you as well. It’s incredible how God always places just the right people in our lives.

  12. I am so so sorry to hear about your brother and sister in law losing their baby. I can’t imagine their pain and hope that your whole family pulls together to comfort one another through this. What a hard week to get bad news from the doctor, and also all that you have had to go through from an aunts perspective. I hope you feel God’s arms holding you extra tight today. Praying for you all big time!

  13. I’m so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law and sister-in-law and the loss of their baby. I cannot imagine what they’re going through. I will absolutely keep them and the whole family in my prayers.

    I’m also sorry about your test results. I really like what you said about allowing yourself to grieve things in life and be okay with it, even if it’s “not as bad” as others’ experiences. And of course, moving on and reflecting on the many blessings in life is always helpful. I think you have a great, healthy perspective on this. Also, I liked going back and reading the post you linked to. It was beautiful 🙂

  14. I’m so sorry about that disappointing news, Rach! But it’s true that the right perspective can change everything. I’ll be keeping your family in my prayers!

  15. Praying for your family, friend.

  16. Praying for your brother and sister in law! I can not imagine the pain they are in. Great post!

  17. I am so sorry to hear about the sad news for your brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Sending lots of positive thoughts their way.

  18. Praying for your BIL AND SIL. We have been there and if it weren’t for my faith..I don’t know where I’d be! Praying for you too my love and my heart feels content knowing that his GRACE is enough and he wraps you and I and all his children in it daily! Hugs sweet friend!!

  19. I’m so sorry to hear about your BIL and SIL. What a tough time for them and your family! My thoughts are with you guys!

  20. Loss is such a hard thing to deal with. I will be praying for your family in this difficult time. I admire how you’ve befriended refugees. There’s so many untruthful, negative things in the media that people get deterred and don’t want to help innocent human beings. You and your husband are furthering God’s kingdom in so many ways. Reaching out a hand to those in need is one of the best things that can be done. ❤

  21. I’m so sorry for your family in this tough time. And I am always so happy to read when you post things about helping others. I am all about helping children in poverty situations and I love that you bring a fresh perspective with refugee causes. there are so many worthy causes and people in this world.

  22. So sorry for your family’s loss–that’s heartbreaking for them and for all of you. The kind of thing that shouldn’t happen at all.

    I am majorly useless when it comes to anything to do with blood, needles, doctors. I’m so grateful for Angel who is tough as nails about such things and can help me cope with them. Being sensitive to that–what he said about how living with war is what caused her to no longer be sensitive to blood really hits home. So many people live through situations I can’t even imagine. Many of those who are part of our daily life and community here are living with extremely difficult, extremely broken situations. It takes an emotional toll on me and I’m just an ‘outsider’, to a large extent. I have a complete family, parents who love me, a husband who doesn’t abuse me. So much to be grateful for but there’s so much brokenness in this world that only Jesus can comfort.

    • It’s incredible how our perspective changes when we are face-to-face with people who are living such different lives than we do. Especially when it’s a daily thing. I remember when I moved back to the States thinking that I would never take my easy life for granted after having lived in China and being surrounded by so much poverty. Well, 12 years later I definitely take things for granted. So this was a good reminder for me. I’m sure it’s on year heart more often because you see it every day. You are so right that all this brokenness can only be healed by Jesus.

  23. Rebekah Johnson

    My heart hurts for your family. That is hard to go through. I’m sorry you got difficult news too. I trust that God will give you grace to walk through the hard times.

    Perspective! My time in Asia forever changed me, or at least I hope it does! I hear people complain about weather and traffic and I really do tell them, “Go to Burma.” They have no idea how good life is here. I think that is why the purchase groceries on-line gets me because so many things in this world need attention and we want groceries at a click. Anyways, I’m getting away from the point…

    I think one of the biggest things that forever changed me was meeting a family from Pakistan in Thailand. The Muslims had a letter written and posted to find and kill this family because of their faith in Christ. They had a small baby and the Mom was 7 months pregnant and they ran for their lives and ended up in Thailand. They had me edit their letter to give to I think the UN or someone important like that. It was so humbling to hear their story. Then they had us over for dinner and said how they never purchase expensive rice but they did because we were their guests of honor. I fought tears that night a lot. It really opened my eyes.

    • I hope it does forever change your life and perspective! I had the same thought when I first moved back to the States. 12 years later I definitely take some things for granted, but I try to still be mindful of how easy my life is here!

  24. I have had experiences that put things into perspective. And I’m one of those that considers myself to be very thankful and aware, but then you’ll hear one thing and it really brings you into focus of how lucky you are. I am sorry to hear of what is going on with your family.

  25. My prayers and thoughts with your BIL and SIL Rach. And am not sure what aches you, but I hope the doctor has good news the next time, the call comes. You are really a beautiful and sincere person inside out and I would hate it if the universe thought to hurt you.
    The story of the Syrian family is so unnerving. Clearly like your blog title says its all about “perspective”. We should never take things for granted and count our blessings rather than dwell on the little things 🙂

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