Suffering can bring out the worst in people. Sickness makes people irritable. Injury makes people brooding or sulky. Pain brings out anger.
The nurse gets accosted by the patient. The daughter is verbally abused by her aging parent. The spouse is yelled at by their partner with the flu. Those who suffer long sicknesses or pain sometimes take their frustrations out on the people who care for them most. It takes a very patient caregiver to not take misdirected anger personally.
Isidore the Priest was said to be so patient that he would take the insufferable suffering and heal them. He was able to bear with them, not take anything personally, ride with grace a roller coaster of emotions and navigate the darkest nights with the hurt and pained. His compassionate, steadfast presence was healing.
The apostle Paul calls us to hope for what is unseen and wait with patience. Paul is talking about perspective. In sickness, pain and grief, it is easy to lose perspective. It is easy to forget all the goodness, gifts, resources and hope that reside in a person. A patient caregiver maintains perspective and gently reminds those who suffer of the power within them and the hope before them. This has to be done with maximum sensitivity and care (it is often done without words), but it is crucial to help in the healing. A caring person walks with people when another step seems impossible.
Have you ever grown weary of caring for someone struggling? Have you ever gotten tired of someone who seems to always have a burden? Have you been tempted to pass off a sufferer or avoid them?
In many cases, what heals a person is another patient person willing to go the distance.