Monday, April 12, 2010

Suffering and Healing

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. Life has been so crazy. We also had our first semi foster parent experience caring for a little girl for a few days. I LOVED it. Learning about some of her emotional healing and reflecting on my own physical healing prompted me to do a post on suffering and healing. Now we all know I can be pretty random, so bear with me while I try to put my thoughts into a post.

Suffering: If you allow yourself to feel sorrow and pain, it can bring you to be exactly where you need to be. Pain has the potential to purify us. It's interesting how in our culture we avoid pain at all costs and we push through it, instead of allowing it to work through us. In Mark Matousek's book, When You're Falling, Dive, he travels the world interviewing survivors of pain and misfortune to discover the meaning of suffering. He notes:
...terror can be a door to enlightment...Our prevailing contemporary view of pain and loss as handicaps to be avoided at any cost is...wronghanded. Terror is fuel; wounding is power. Darkness carries the seeds of redemption. Authentic strength isn't found in our armor but at the very pit of the wounds each of us survive.
Dr. Rachel Remen, one of my favorite authors, was diagnosed at a young age with Chrohn's disease. She talks about how
healing is a mysterious process whose principles often contradict reason. Working with thousands of patients, shes has learned how often the body's intelligence defies expectations...The body is hardwired to persevere. If I cut you, your body will heal stronger than before.
She continues
When we try to avoid loss or plow through our pain, our lives are actually diminished. On the other hand, there's an extraordinary wisdom and clarity that emerges in people who genuinely meet their pain, not in theory but in life...the process of wounding actually awakens us to our strength. It shuffles our values. And the top priority is never what you thought it would be...It always turns out to be about love.
Through the suffering there can be transcendence and even perfect glimpses of what really matters in this world.
Now in regards to physical healing: When is comes to illness, something I've come to learn is that it's complicated. A lot of times we think that if you're sick surgery or a pill should fix you, and if it doesn't, then you have cancer or diabetes. We're not educated enough on the different levels of illness and how they can be treated, as well as how they affect daily life. My illness isn't cancer and it can't be fixed with just a pill or surgery (believe me I tried). But I am healing, and even though it's incurable and chronic, I've learned how to somewhat to manage it through medication, diet, level of activity, rest, physical therapy, massage, and exercises. I still struggle with less sleep, pain, fatigue, and I visit the doctor often, but I can manage the pain more than I ever thought possible. I'm also able to live a relatively normal life.

I also know my healing is also the result of hard work, research, faith, and blessings. They all work together. Here is a link to a video that talks about the tender mercies of the Lord. He's taking care of us.



Toni said...

I love this post. It wasn't until I allowed myself to feel the suffering that came with being chronically ill that I began to have glimpses of joy in my life again. Here's a poem by Wendell Berry that I think echoes the theme of your post (I've used it in my book on chronic illness -- I had to pay for the reprint rights -- but I think you'll agree that it was worth it.) Again, thanks for this thoughtful post. Here's the poem:

To go into the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

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Michelle M said...
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Brian Bormann said...

I've been surfing through your blog and cannot find what your chronic illness is. Is it not something that you feel comfortable posting, or am I missing it. I wish you well.