Today, a stranger overheard a conversation between me and some women about David’s epilepsy and upcoming surgeries. The details she heard included things like “seeing specialists in Cleveland for epilepsy” and “multiple brain surgeries.”
She interrupted our conversation. “Excuse me. I know your son has seizures. My son had some fever seizures. We used Frankincense oil and he has never had a seizure since. You really need to….”
As I stood there, trying to politely smile and nod, I couldn’t help thinking, “Doesn’t it seem like someone needing brain surgery might have a different set of circumstances than what you experienced? Do you really think I would subject my son to BRAIN SURGERY without doing my homework? Without relying on the advice of the smartest and best doctors on this subject over a number of years? Do you really think I’m ignorant as to the other possible treatment methods?”
I wish she would have said things like, “My son had some seizures. I’d like to know more about your experience. What interventions have you tried? What have you found that works? What does not work? What do your doctors suggest? Maybe something I’ve tried might be helpful to you.”
I think we all try to be helpful to others. One of the main reasons this site exists is the hope that our experiences might help others. But, we’ve probably all been guilty of getting caught up in giving some really great advice that we are certain will help someone that we forgot about listening to the other person and learning about THEIR experience first.
I love the verses of scripture found in Alma 7, in the Book of Mormon, that say, speaking of Christ:
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
“That he may know…how to succor his people according to THEIR infirmities.”
Next time I happen to be that well-meaning stranger, I hope I remember to ask and listen first.