BLESSED BY ILLNESS: The Challenge of Patience

I often ponder how rare it is these days to hear the term “patient” being used by the health care industry. The politically-correct term has shifted in recent years to “client”, a term meant to imply that an individual has an active role in selecting services, while being a “patient” supposedly implies reticence, a lack of involvement.

At some point in our lives, all of us have had or will have the experience of needing services, care, attention – whether it’s in a hospital, clinic, some other institution or at home. But there is something quite profound in the work required to be a patient and to be patient! With the media bombarding us with fear regarding the latest coronavirus outbreak, it’s more important than ever to look at the transformative aspects.

There are indeed positive aspects to all illness. I was deeply impacted decades ago after reading the book ‘Blessed by Illness’ by Dr. L.F.C. Mees. Having spent ten years on the Board of the Anthroposophical Nurses Association in America as well as having been a licensed, practicing RN, I was able to truly experience so many aspects related to transformation through illness, including my own.

How many of us can easily sit back and simply allow ourselves to RECEIVE – receive care, love, attention, assistance, gratitude, praise, healing?  We’re a nation that defines our individual self-worth according to what we DO rather than who we ARE.  When we’re unable to do what we’ve been conditioned by the media to value, then the questions begin to arise:  “Who am I?”  “What is my purpose in life if I can’t do <fill in the blank>?”

It’s shocking to think of how difficult being a patient can be. It’s HARD WORK on many levels to receive, to heal, often without being able to reciprocate.  It’s much easier for most of us to be the givers; it makes us feel good and has the potential to feed the ego and inflate our self-worth. On the other hand, it takes an enormous amount of willpower to begin to accept our own worthiness simply based on “who we be” and reclaim Divine Love as our birthright when we’re a “patient”.  It’s also important to realize that the purpose of an illness is not to go back to being exactly the way were WERE, but rather to move forward in a way that transforms us into who we are becoming, with an ability to experience gratitude for the “blesson”, the blessing in the lesson.

As a patient, we’re presented with the opportunity to literally practice patience — allowing, receiving, accepting, remaining positive and trusting in the wisdom of the Universe that we will achieve what we are meant to achieve for our highest good and healing – and not necessarily in our desired timeframe or with the desired outcome.  Are we playing an active role in this effort??  Absolutely!  Do we have choices?  YES!  Are we really being reticent??  Of course not. Being a patient is an active will activity in every moment, which can be difficult and challenging until you decide it’s OK. It’s a time to focus inwardly and begin to “know thyself” in a different way. Love yourself just as you are. Be gentle and kind to yourself.  And that’s a gift divine.