Recently, someone told me a heartbreaking story about someone they love deeply. The loved one has many problems and needs help but continues to refuse to see the issues and reach out for needed assistance. It pains us so to see our loved ones suffer and to feel powerless to be of help. We want to help but see no way to positively impact the situation.
My friend asked me, “What can I do?” What can we do? We can let the person know that s/he is loved. We can let the person know that we are available to help (if and when the time comes). We can pray for the person which certainly can help to soothe our pain. And we can take care of ourselves. We can cultivate our own health and well-being – spiritual and physical and economic. When we do this we make ourselves strong and courageous so that we can be helpful to others, so that we can offer ourselves in service, so that we can be co-creators with God and heal the earth.
Now, what does it mean to be healthy? Well, if I go by the Groupon ads that I get, it involves manicures, pedicures, liposuction, electrolysis, cosmetic surgery, hair treatments, and all manner of costly supposed beautification. Usually those things just mask our pain, our sense of loneliness, our lack of connection, our despair and denial, the absence of meaning. That’s hardly healthy.
In my opinion, health involves honest, mutually supportive relationships, spiritual practice or discipline, community, involvement in constructive service which betters the lives of others, regular exercise, healthy diet, connection to nature and Earth, productive work, engagement with the arts in some way. These things are all marks of health and taking care of ourselves in my view. What do you think it means to be healthy? What do you do to take care of yourself?
The point of self care is to keep ourselves ready and able and willing to serve to the best of our ability in ways that convey the love of God to the world. What can we do? We can take care of ourselves.
Lectionary readings for today:
Prayer: May we love ourselves as we hope to love others and show ourselves the care we wish for others. Amen.