On a very regular basis, there are people in my kingdom who claim to love me the mostest, who tell me they wish they could take away my pain, that they want to take it on so that I don't suffer any longer, they wish they had to deal with that with which I deal instead of me having to deal with it.
It's a sweet sort of sentiment and it gives them words with which to fill the air. However...
I thought a lot about this today as I struggled to keep down my food or move my muscles and joints in any really meaningful way, while my hands shook so violently I had to ask for a straw for my coffee so I didn't spill it on myself and while I played the wait and see game for hours on end. I came to the conclusion that this particular declaration of "why not me instead?" is just a little bit selfish and that those who make this statement are playing the victim on some level.
Now I know that might sound crazy, and I certainly don't mean it in a disparaging way, but hear me out, because I think there's some merit to it. Let's be honest... they don't REALLY wish it was them, but it does sound good and heroic to mention it. Of course, since it's a physical impossibility, it's safe for them to say it as often and as adamantly as they would like. The fact is, it's a helluva lot easier to say something like this than to actually have to be around me, help me, support me. Actions speak far louder than words and I find it's the folks who proclaim my situation "utterly unfair" and who claim to want this trade out that tend not to act. And that's OK, I don't need them to, realy, and I know sometimes people just don't know what to say or do, but I do find it interesting.
These "traders" are not the same folks who remain silent about the situation yet are there to hold back my hair as I vomit for the 14th time in two hours. They are definitely not the ones holding my hand during a spinal tap or telling me jokes while I wait for the IV to drip its last drop, not the ones squeezing my hand to try to stop it from shaking, unlocking a door for me because I can't manage the key, delivering meals or cleaning ladies or providing me with Point A to B transportation on days when driving is out of the question. They are not the ones that know there's a standard answer I give to the question "how are you feeling?", nor are they the people who can watch me move across the room or see me touch my "hot spots" and know exactly what hurts me.
The fact is that this... this life I lead... this disease that haunts me... these powerful lessons I learn from it... this is my curriculum. It's not theirs to learn and even if they could wish it upon themselves it would be lost on them because it's simply not their destiny.
The real question, then, should be "What can I learn from the Cranky Princess' situation?" or, maybe better yet, "How can I step into the Cranky Princess' world?". Truthfully, what it comes down to is: are the people who care so deeply about me that they "wish" my illness upon themselves actually willing to give up their time and energy to DO something that would allow them to step into my story, to be a part of the plot, and thereby, hopefully, learn something from it, or are they just interested in the words that sound good and right in the moment?
At the end of the day, what you do is more important than what you say and sometimes that which is unsaid is heard more loudly and clearly than the words you utter.