Illness can put us on a long road to healing SanTan Sun News

Illness can put us on a long road to healing

Illness can put us on a long road to healing
Spirituality
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By Rabbi Irwin Wiener

Guest Writer

 

We are constantly struggling to come to terms with illness; we hear our own voices as we attempt to understand our suffering.

  Overwhelmed by the rush of fear, and guilt and grief, we wonder where we will find the strength and courage to face our situation. We feel alone and many of us know that pain.

When we first hear about the diagnosis, we are confused and bewildered. Through it all we ask the inevitable question, “Why me?”  We were always healthy and cared for others and now we are not.

One of the first thoughts is perhaps we have done something in our lives that must have deserved this. It is some kind of punishment, otherwise why else would we be suffering? 

 We begin to review our lives and all the paths we took, the people we met, the flaws in our character. Did we visit our parents enough, or tend to our children without causing them anguish? On and on we continue, attempting to rationalize, and guilt takes hold and just lingers.

Sometimes we feel better by blaming others, which seems to give us some imaginary control over our situation.  

The one thing that really matters is that this illness now gives us an opportunity to think clearly about our lives and the direction that meets our needs and wants.

Faith plays a very vital part in the process of adjusting, accepting, and coping. Seeing God as an avenger, not as a healer, tends to intensify our suffering. Perhaps we even pray that God will end this misery.  

We look around and see others who are whole while we are bent over with pain. Again, we turn to the God who apparently struck us and begin to bargain: If you heal us, we will do something for others. It is reminiscent of Abraham bargaining with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah.

The worst nightmare is when we feel abandoned. Nobody understands us. We are alone and weak. Where are they when we need them? 

To begin to heal we need to reach out to others, and let others reach for us. We start with one or two friends, and family, and begin to let people participate in helping us heal. We need to absorb the kindness that can be offered.

It is through connection with family and friends; we can begin to emerge from our depression. We can begin to reaffirm our own worthiness. There are people who care and we shut them out.

Sometimes when we are ill, we begrudge others their health and lose them as allies in regaining our health. We are too proud to ask for help. 

Our prayers are not of comfort and requests for help but rather express despair and frustration.  However, our prayers can lead to wisdom, which in turn will assist in the healing process.

All this takes time. 

We did not get sick overnight and the gradually we will see improvement. Our healing does not lie in self-pity or fantasies of revenge. 

 It is in touching the deepest part of us in seeking comfort from God and in reaching out to friends and family; then our prayers will change from these calls of despair to cries to the One-Who-Heals-the-Shattered Heart, to help our heart to heal.

In addition, as we learn to find comfort from a healing God, we will truly mean it when we say:

“You will support me because 

of my integrity,

You will let me abide in 

your presence forever.

Blessed is God,

From now to eternity

-amen, amen.” 

 

– Rabbi Dr. Irwin Weiner is spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.

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