Communities of Health
The Psalmist proclaims, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made!” God has created the body to be its own best physician. Most of our afflictions and injuries are met and cured by our immune system. Viruses are defeated by antibodies. Bruises are cleared by our circulatory system. Cuts are mended by white blood cells fighting infection and collagen forming new connections. Our body’s capacity for healing carries us through life. We are protected and preserved in health in far greater measure than we are sick. But even our bodies need help. I have diverted these meditations to consider more personal implications suggested by my hospital experience and recovery. This is the last one I will place upon your patience and it is the simplest to write. Simply put; no one gets or stays healthy alone.
Multiple layers of community co-ordinated for my recovery. Research created pain medications. Surgeons developed procedures. Contractors designed the hospital. You paid taxes to build it. My doctor and specialist guided my decisions. Nurses hovered like angels administering compassion. Once the medical community played their part, other communities took over. My family is a circle of love. Miriam tended to me more than I deserve. (I may have overplayed the patient part once or twice.) Our daughter moved in for a couple of days to ensure everything was cared for. Our son flooded us from a distance with his support. My church family prayed and prays still. Cards and calls from friends assured me we were on their hearts. I felt I was being lifted body and soul, by so many hands - medical, family, church and friends. My recovery is a wonder of the body; but a body carried by multiple communities of love.
You may ask, “Where was God in all of this?” My answer, “He is in all of this!” The One who created our body’s physical defences has also shaped the communities needed for well being. Miracle drugs are God’s miracles. The skills of a surgeon are God’s gifts. The support of family, friends and congregation are buttresses that God has built. God could easily infuse our body with His healing energy directly. There are times He does. But experience demonstrates that God prefers to heal us through connections and bonds with others. We are healed in community. No one gets better alone.
The implications of our physical health shout lessons for the soul. Self managed independent spirituality is not a prescription for a thriving soul. We may get sick by ourselves, but we don’t get better that way. As iron sharpens iron. A three cord strand is not easily broken. Where two or three are gathered. Do not forsake the gathering of yourselves. Bear one another’s burdens. The language of Scripture enforces the need and power of community to make and keep us whole. So, if your soul feels anemic or broken, isolation is not the answer. Lean upon the communities God has formed around you. Welcome the merciful Hands of God who heals.