Spiritual health gives life meaning

By Onie Mision-ReedApril 12, 2014 

Is there such a thing as spiritual health? You bet -- that no medication can touch!

A man was rushed to the emergency room with multiple injuries caused by a road accident. He had lost control of his semi-truck and faced multiple surgeries. Even though he was given pain medications, his pain was still unbearable. The doctor could not give him any more dosage; and so he made a referral to call a chaplain.

I came in and asked John where he was experiencing pain. John pointed to his heart.

I said, "Tell me about it."

He felt regret that he did not die in that accident saying, "My family would be better off without me!"

And he went on and on to tell me his misery.

After a long while, I interjected, "When was the last time you felt animated, passionate about life?"

His eyes grew big, his lips widened with a smile, "Oh, when I was playing my drums!"

He proceeded to tell me his band's achievements and adventures.

"When was the last time you played your drums?" I asked.

And he replied, "30 years ago when I was in high school."

I made a suggestion that when he got better, to play his drums again. Something good might come out of it.

Months later, John stopped by my office. He had cut back his work hours and played his drums again. That day, he was giving me a complimentary ticket for his concert to benefit a children's hospital!

I remind people all the time about the body, mind, emotion and spirit healing and wellness. Spiritual health is not nebulous like some people may think. It happens when we experience a sense of meaning, purpose and direction in life.

We know when we are getting spiritual nourishment. We exude joy and passion about life, our work and relationships.

What nourishes our spirit? Is it family or friends? Work or ministry? Faith life? Sharing our gifts and talents with others?

When was the last time you talked to your priest or pastor, or to a spiritual director? Or had a heart to heart talk with someone you trust?

And to those in the helping profession, when was the last time you made a referral to chaplains or spiritual caregivers?

Spiritual health puts things in perspective, reminds us of the "bigger reality" in life -- God, who is bigger than our problems or issues, bigger than any storms that come our way. Spiritual health tempers and makes us aware of things that are toxic to our overall health and wellness. It makes us attentive to our priorities, the essentials and essence of life.

Jesus reminded us, "What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?" (Luke 9:25).

What gives us a sense of meaning and purpose in life? Jesus showed us the way through his life of loving service, centered on one goal, to build God's Kingdom where love, justice and peace abide.

"Feed my lambs ... Feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17).

-- Onie Mision-Reed is the Director of Pastoral Care at Lourdes Health Network in Pasco. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email lluginbill@tricityherald.com.

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