I am pretty sure that Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages, missed out on a sixth love language – ‘ Drinking Coffee!’ For me, there’s something so special about sitting across the table from someone, savouring a cup of java and ‘connecting’. I am a sucker for good conversation, so I feel so blessed when I am taken out for coffee, or when I in turn get to take someone for a coffee. Even having someone make me a cup of coffee within my own home, makes me feel blessed (my mom provides lots of beverage blessings!).
Today I was reminded of a picture I had seen that says, ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle’. I love chatting about deep and meaningful things and being ministered to or ministering to others over a cup of ???(you guessed right…coffee!). Gone are the old days where ‘church’ only happens on a Sunday in a chapel! No way! For me, ‘church’ happens whilst meeting over a cup of coffee, any day of the week! yesterday I had coffee with a very dear friend, who too has fought a tough battle. She too has no visible scars. If you had walked past the two of us at the coffee shop, you would not have noticed any outer evidence of our inner struggle. Yet, we have both been through a trauma, both different but both life changing. (She has lost a precious child.) Today we were able to be real, drink coffee, minister to one another and hug each other. Now, that was medicine for my heart.
As I have said, I have no visible outer scars from my attack, which is both a blessing and a curse. I am blessed enough to not have deep gashes like Alison Botha had after her attack, but I am also left with no physical evidence to serve as a reminder for people to know and remember what I had to endure, and to treat me accordingly. Quite likely people sometimes think, well she looks normal, so she must be normal. I’ll treat her like nothing ever happened. Nope, that’s not going to be helpful. Quite likely it just serves to make the person feel more alone. What is normal anyway?! Just because someone does not have visible scars does not mean they have not endured a momentous battle. My scars are on the inside. I do however, keep doshing on the bio-oil of Gods love – and the scars are healing.
I have found that some folks have not known how to react or what to do or say to help me heal. Often people think that to help you they have to do some grand gesture or act in some ridiculous manner! Obviously each person going through a trauma is different and wants to be treated accordingly. So my advice is to treat each situation as unique, and don’t put your version of the ‘normal’ treatment on anyone. Better still, rather ask ‘How can I best support and be there for you?…yes, it’s as simple as that! For me, I wanted and needed the comfort of gentle physical touch after my trauma. I valued a tender kiss on the forehead, my hair being stroked and a gentle, reassuring hug was just what the doctor ordered (that and coffee). Other women who have been raped may not want anyone to touch them but I needed and still need hugs, lots of hugs, because my love language is physical touch! There is such a healing quality about hugs. Sometimes people need to talk less and hug more. You can say so much with a hug!
So often well intentioned folks ‘TELL’ me what I should or should not be doing, or even how I should be feeling, as if they have been through the same trauma. What they don’t realise is that, when someone has gone through a trauma, we do not want advice. All I want is to be HEARD!…and hugged ….. and to drink coffee. When I want advice, I will ask for it, and then I will welcome it, appreciate it and value it.
So remember, you never know what the person you are dealing with has gone through. They may not have visible scars but it is quite likely they too are going through a battle of some sort. Always show kindness! You never know if the other person needs it a lot more than you realise.
Enjoy your weekend
ps. Here is my friend, Janine’s blog. It is definitely worth a read!