Christmas can bring up so many feelings on all sides of the spectrum. Many are wading through the loss of someone close to them, others are dealing with an unexpected diagnosis, still others are navigating the trickiness of family dynamics at the holidays. It can be a challenge to know what to say or if we should even say anything.

When I was going through treatment for cancer, I was given many options and things to think about doing, but the one treatment all four of my doctors insisted on was internal radiation. I will spare you the specifics, except to say, I was being treated for uterine cancer… so internal radiation would not be a pleasant ordeal. (I promise I will tie this in with my opening paragraph. Keep reading!)

After being given a sufficient amount of morphine, the procedure began. It involved me having to lie as still as possible for quite a while as doctors took x-rays and measurements, and then left for over an hour to calculate a plan of how to proceed.

Eddie was allowed to come in and chat with me during this waiting time, but I was in so much pain, he had to quickly find a nurse to administer more morphine. Finally, my doctor along with 4 or 5 residents returned, and began putting equipment in place.

When everything was positioned just right, a tall, overly-outgoing resident said, and I quote… “Let’s get cookin’!”

Let’s get cookin’! (It’s more than okay to gasp right here.)

THAT was the ‘everything’s-good-to-go’ phrase he chose to announce before administering internal radiation!

The whole room went silent as doctors shot him a horrified look.

Talk about the absolute wrong thing to say and the absolute wrong timing! Hah!

But, you know what, I still knew I was being cared for even in the midst of a clumsy comment. And that’s my point. Be present with your people even if you don’t know what to say or what to do. I almost always feel awkward when offering a sentiment, but I do it anyway. I want people to know I care about them and their pain. Many times, I send a simple text saying I’m thinking of you and praying for you.

So… reach out to those around you who are hurting and sad right now. Make a decision to connect, possibly risking saying the ‘not so perfect’ thing.

It’s okay.

They’ll know you care.

Now, let’s get cookin’!