April 10, 2014

Some thoughts on the purpose of PAIN and the how to of HEALING

I read two beautiful devotionals on Healing and the Healer's Art yesterday.
Please read them yourself HERE and HERE.
I am just going to pull my favorite quotes for this blog, but for all references take a moment to read the talks in entirety!

From the BYU devotional "The Healer's Art" by Elaine Marshall, October 8, 2002.
(Interesting fact, while I was at BYU I had the opportunity to do research and contribute to a paper with Sister Marshall.  I love her.)

Healing Hurts.
"First, healing hurts. When I was a young nurse in the hospital, hardly a day went by that a patient did not ask, “Will it hurt?” If I had been truthful, the whispered answer would nearly always have been, “Yes, it will hurt.” I have learned that healing hurts. Life hurts. Healing really only begins when we face the hurt in its full force and then grow through it with all the strength of our soul. For every reward of learning and growing, some degree of pain is always the price."

Healing is Active.
"Healing cannot happen in a surgical suite where the pain is only a sleepy memory. Cure is passive, as you submit your body to the practitioner. Healing is active. It requires all the energy of your entire being. You have to be there, fully awake, aware, and participating when it happens."

Healing is Sacred.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught:
There is, in the suffering of the highest order, a point that is reached—a point of aloneness—when the individual (as did the Savior on a much grander scale) must bear it . . . alone. Even the faithful may wonder if they can take any more or if they are in some way forsaken.

Those who . . . stand on the foot of the cross often can do so little to help absorb the pain and the anguish. It is something we must bear ourselves in order that our triumph can be complete. [Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979), 43]

Healing is not only private, it is sacred. Private healing is not healing by abandonment. There is something so sacred about partaking of the power of the Atonement to overcome suffering, disappointment, or sin that it happens in the privacy of that special relationship between the mortal and the divine. Healing involves a private personal communion with the Savior, the Master Healer. It inspires a very personal reverence and awe. While on the earth Jesus often healed in private and then departed. When He healed, He often charged, “See thou tell no man; but go thy way” (Matthew 8:4; see also Luke 8:56).

To say that healing is private is not to diminish the marvelous power that comes from the help and compassion of others. Indeed, private healing often may not happen without the help of others. But much of the work of healing is done alone, inside the heart, in the company of the Spirit of the Lord.
Such secret healing is not a single event. It happens as a process of living. You cannot simply take off a day or start tomorrow like a new diet and return healed. It happens quietly while you face the pain. It happens over time as you live, work, study, and give to others.

Healing Teaches Us.
Orson F. Whitney wrote:
No pain that we suffer . . . is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of . . . patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer . . . , especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven. [Quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), 98]

Healing is the Gift of the Savior.
President Hinckley promised:
Jesus of Nazareth healed the sick among whom He moved. His regenerating power is with us today. . . . His divine teachings, His incomparable example, His matchless life, His all-encompassing sacrifice will bring healing to broken hearts, reconciliation to those who argue and shout, even peace to warring nations if sought with humility and forgiveness and love. [Hinckley, “Healing Power,” 59]

Here is the first BYU Devotional I read, "Healing = Courage + Action + Grace", by John Sandberg, January 21, 2014.

I love how Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, described healing:
Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a “healing” . . . lifts our burden. But sometimes we are “healed” by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us.

As we consider the key components for healing, let us remember that, in the end, healing is a gift from our Savior that will likely require effort and suffering on our part so that we can grow and develop through our struggles. The gift is often the refinement we experience in the process.

Let me give you one example from one of my heroes. When the relatively young Nelson Mandela first entered prison, he was described by his peers as too “emotional” (meaning he lacked self-control), “passionate” (meaning he had a temper), and “quickly stung” (easily offended), but when he left prison twenty-seven years later, the words he would use to describe himself were “balanced,” “measured,” and “controlled.” 7 As Richard Stengel noted in his excellent book on lessons learned from Mandela, “Nelson Mandela had many teachers in his life, but the greatest of them all was prison.” 8 When he was pestered about how prison had changed him, Mandela simply said, “I came out mature.” 

And remember, you can still act, even if you are afraid or feel like procrastinating. My favorite example of this type of action is Mother Teresa. I love this quote about her from writer Marcus Goodyear:
Mother Teresa doubted. Her spirit wavered. . . . Some days she questioned herself. Some days she questioned God.
And this is the biggest encouragement of all. Even Mother Teresa had doubts. . . . Her doubt gives me hope; not that my own doubt will go away but that feelings of doubt are not as powerful as a faithful decision to act.
I may doubt, but I still pray. I still go to church. I still worship. . . .
Doubt is a feeling, but faith chooses to act no matter our feelings.

Oh-- these examples are soo good!  Read the whole talk.

God bless you and yours as you suffer and heal!!
Life is good.


The Davis Family Three said...

Thanks for sharing this today. It was full of so many things I needed to hear!

chris said...

Beautifully put. I have been studying Elaine Marshall's talk printed in the studying BYU magazine. So much to ponder. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I have learned so much from you. Love from Idaho.

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