Counseling the Seriously IllA dear patient was in the office this week. Several months ago, the news about his lung “mass” wasn’t good. Now the end obviously was very close, and there was no sugarcoating it. He and I went back too many years for simple platitudes to do during this visit. We had been through too much together.
In Judaism, there is a traditional prayer for healing that is said on the Sabbath. So if it is obvious that physical healing is not going to take place, what do we make of the prayer?
There is more than one type of healing. And since we all will reach the point when physical healing is no longer possible, the other type – spiritual healing – becomes of paramount importance as we age. The good news is that we don’t have to await our final days before become healed.
So what did I say to my patient? I told him that he should be very proud of what he had done with his life. Sure, he wasn’t a famous person in the traditional sense, but he lived a life of dignity and purpose, and had children of whom he could be very proud. They would carry on his values and the family’s traditions.
He had worked hard and contributed to society by his work ethic and his actions. He must use his remaining days to communicate his love to all those who mattered to him – his family and friends - and he must let them know how much he loved them, and how his live was enriched by them.
Although physical healing isn’t always possible, spiritual healing is available to all of us, at any time.
If you have a comment or question about this blog entry, email Dr. Roffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Joel Roffman has spoken to many church, synagogue and support groups. His book, Coping with Adversity: Judaism’s response to illness and other life struggles is enjoyable, uplifting and informative. It is meant for people of all faiths and can be viewed at www.copingwithadversity.com. It is available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Amazon.com.