COLLEGE PARK, MD –
A blessed Ramadan to you all. May we all meet the month, see it through and be counted amongst the successful. Amen.
This time of year is a good opportunity to address unproductive and unhealthy aspects of our lives. I’d like to highlight illness in particular in this post.
All of us struggle with illnesses. They come in multiple varieties – spiritual, emotional, and physical.
No matter what kind of illness(es) we are dealing with, they disrupt our lives and have the potential to substantially derail them.
It is paramount that we obtain proper diagnoses to these maladies so that we can do our best to cure or manage them.
An improper diagnosis can be deadly.
They all matter
Perhaps you are wondering why I just stated the obvious.
I concede that the concept may be obvious in regard to physical ailments, but the spiritual and emotional varieties seem to be less obvious to us although they are very similar.
The general pattern for all of these illnesses can be seen as follows in my view:
- An illness must be identified first as acute or chronic
- If acute, acute measures must be taken to relieve the person in pain
- If chronic, the triggers of the illness must be managed
- If misdiagnosed, the likelihood is high that the person suffering from the illness will resort to relieving their pain through unproductive means and channels
If we apply the above pattern to spiritual and emotional ailments in addition to the physical ailments we more readily acknowledge, it may be that we can make some progress in resolving some of our long-standing issues.In fact, maybe we ignore many of our issues precisely because we have no idea how to address them.
I hope the second part of this post can give us some ways to understand what exactly is going on in our lives and, with that knowledge, forge a path forward, God willing.
No matter what kind of illness it is critical to know what type of illness one is dealing with, so they can be addressed properly.
Incorrectly diagnosing and addressing illnesses can lead to tragic results – even with good intentions.
An acute illness is one that comes with a rapid onset. The response must also be rapid. In physical terms, perhaps one has an infection and must take some form of antibiotic to address it quickly.
In emotional terms, perhaps we said something unbecoming to someone and then apologize for doing so.
Spiritually, we may have crossed the boundaries set by God, so we seek His forgiveness.
I don’t think we have a big problem with acute illnesses. It seems like we have those relatively under control. Chronic illnesses on the other hand seem like they’re a rather big issue for us.
A chronic illness is one that persists in its effects or comes with time.
These cannot be addressed quickly. The triggers of the illness must be identified and great efforts must be taken to stifle or manage those triggers.
For example, if someone abuses someone else, simply saying sorry will not address the issue. The abuse must stop and everyone involved in the situation must be on guard to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Applying acute interventions to chronic illnesses is disastrous and can be worse than the initial illness itself.
Good intentions are not enough. We must take this seriously and realize what is at stake. Many of the risk behaviors we engage in are attempts to dull the pain brought on by our chronic illnesses – of all varieties.
In physical terms, the infirm may resort to pain relievers.
In other regards, however, all sorts of other dangerous behaviors can come about as a way to cope with the spiritual or emotional pain we’re experiencing.
We must see the connection between engaging in these risky behaviors and the un- or misdiagnosed chronic illnesses we suffer from.
It is easier to ignore them or call everything an acute illness that can be addressed through acute means, but easy and correct rarely coincide.