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The Anointing of the Sick

With all this talk about who's more healthy among our current presidential candidates, I feel compelled to blog about how I believe health to be overrated.  As a cancer survivor and also as someone who lives with a autoimmune illness, I know that being sick can make you stronger on all levels of being:  spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I also believe that being sick can teach you lessons like humility, strengthen your faith in a higher power, make you wiser and enhance your spiritual growth, especially if you are here on this earth school to learn about compassion and unity.

Traditionally, those who are sick are viewed as "weak" or lazy and there is a history in our humanity of the infirmed being isolated and quarantined from the rest of society.  We have it in our genes, in our history to be scared of those who are ill.  After all, whatever ails them may be contagious and we fear that we may become ill too and possibly die from that illness.  For some, the fear of death is the biggest fear there is.  For those that fear death, it is inconceivable that one can gain anything from being sick for sickness if viewed mostly as a nuisance that you just want to rid of.  The healthy and strong may not ever have the beauty of experiencing the truth:  that illness can you assist you in overcoming your fears, even your fear of death. 

From the time I was a little girl, I suffered from Eczema.  I was called a "leper" by my peers at times especially since my open skin sores left me vulnerable to even worse-looking conditions like Impetigo.  Peers would mock the way I rubbed dead skin off my face and gossip about me behind my back, wondering amongst themselves, "what's wrong with her skin" instead of just asking me.  I still have eczema - I never "outgrew" it like a lot of children do.  My Eczema has taught me a lot about the need to look for one's inner beauty and spirit and seeing through one's outer charm or seemingly perfect aesthetics. 

Some of the wisest people that have graced our earth with their presence are people that are sick.  If you look at someone like Mattie Stepanek, the child peace advocate and motivational speaker that sold best-selling books of his poetry and was featured on Oprah, you can see that some of the wisest souls come in the most sickly bodies.  He died at age 14 in 2004 from the rare disorder, dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy, that his older siblings also died from.  But in his short life, he spread his message of hope and peace.  Sometimes having a rare condition makes you stand out and you can either choose to look at it as an opportunity to promote spiritual evolution and advancement in our society or you can choose to be as humiliated as you are sometimes treated and then hide in some corner of the world.

It took me some time to adjust to every infirmity that I have been given but I have chosen to learn what I can from the rare cancer I survived.  I learned things like gratitude and faith and I learned about the depths of my own strengths.  I am still adjusting to autoimmune hearing loss but I have already learned a lot from this condition as well.  I am learning about compassion for those who are hearing impaired and I am learning about self-love as you are often seen as someone is "stuck-up" when you don't hear people and they mistakenly believe that you are ignoring them.  You can also be accused of many other things as you display behaviors that aren't deemed socially accepted or confuses others as you struggle to adjust to your new normal and communicate and connect with others in a new way. 

I believe that some of the oldest and wisest souls are those who choose to take on or be born with serious illnesses or conditions.  Sometimes they aren't here to learn at all but have agreed to endure the "hardship" or pain in order to teach others lessons with their illness.  My brother has Neurofibromatosis (NF) and I believe that he is an old soul.  He is one of the most loving people I know.  Those with Down's Syndrome are also some of the most loving people on earth. 

Perhaps of our view of sickness needs to change.  Perhaps those with illness and developmental disorders aren't sick or disordered at all.  From a higher perspective, they really aren't the sick ones.  They are the anointed ones here to anoint the rest of us with all the blessings that have been bestowed upon them.  Will we listen to their messages?  Will we learn from them?  Can we learn from our own illnesses?  Or will we continue to attack or mock or pity those who are ill in any way as we boast about our own supposed healthiness?