Yesterday morning I woke up with a scratchy throat. Usually that means my body is under attack and a full-fledged cold is on the way. I took some vitamin C and prepared for the worst.
It got me thinking about the process by which we learn about whether we're sick or not. I grew up in a family that maintained the stiff upper lip in the face of pain of any kind – emotional pain and physical pain.
Often, we were the walking wounded, ignoring symptoms that were merely annoying because we knew that attitude is hugely important in getting back to health.
In contrast, many American children today grow up in a therapeutic culture intent on diagnosing and treating every perceived ailment. We have a bandaid available for just about any possible owwie and apply them just to feel better about ourselves. It can get out of control.
I'm looking for balance. I don't want to waste time looking for what's wrong with me when in fact I'm quite serviceable as is.
But I don't want to miss the symptoms that would help me get the aid I need to restore my health.
In the realm of emotions, I might be shut down, refusing to acknowledge trauma from the past. I see a lot of people who have responded to emotional pain that way – choosing not to feel as opposed to having to endure the torment of shame or fear.
This dynamic applies to spiritual health as well. We struggle so to wake up to spiritual reality. And in that sense, we're all a little heart sick and fighting our way to health. I know that doubt is not my natural spiritual state. When I am in alignment with the created order, I trust my Creator.
This morning I'm feeling better. The throat isn't scratchy and the congestion is subsiding. As I've gotten older, I've learned what it takes to take care of myself.
How about you? Do you pay attention to symptoms? Do you tend to overmedicate or to ignore your pain when you're sick?