To heal, we need to humbly accept the truth of our human fragility.
There is a soap opera here in New Zealand called Shortland Street. In the very first episode, a nurse tells a doctor a simple sentence that has become, believe it or not, part of New Zealand pop culture.
“You’re not in Guatemala now Dr Ropata.”
In the scene, a mother is about to deliver a baby, but there is no obstetrician available. There is, however, a new doctor fresh from working in Guatemala. He wants to help, but the nurse is determined to stay within the boundaries of hospital policy. So she uttered those memorable words.
Sometimes I want to tell people these words.
“You’re not in the Garden anymore.”
Here is the point.
I believe we all have a desire for a life where there is no pain or suffering. Where relationships are perfect, and we have sunny days, etc. Exactly the kind of lifestyle Adam and Eve delighted in.
The harsh reality though is that we are no longer in that place.
Genesis 3 very clearly explains what life outside of the garden would be like. Pain, suffering, toil, naked vulnerability.
So here is the big question.
Are you ok with being human?
How that may seem a silly sort of question, but in all honesty are you ok with being human and all that that entails.
Outside of the garden, there are thorns, pain and struggle. There is a need for help.
Accepting our humanity means that we need to recognise that we need help.
Medication is of course just one form of aid.
Recently I went to see my doctor for a prescription. I try to be ruthlessly honest with my doctor. We have known each for well over 15 years, and he knows me inside and out.
‘How about we increase your meds for the next little while and review them in 3 months’.
I was ok with this because I had explained to him some of the things happening and that sleep wasn’t that great at the moment.
I am human, I am not in the garden, I have fragilities.
Are you weak?
Do I consider myself as being weak for needing to take medication? I don’t think so.
Some people seem to believe that you can just push your way through a mental illness. That you just need to ‘harden up’.
The sad fact is these very people who try to ‘harden up’ often crash in a heap.
Whereas if they had been courageous, open and honest with their struggle then they might have got the help they needed. If they had let go of pride and embraced humility, then perhaps the struggle could have been avoided or reduced.
Most people do not see things as they are, they see things as they are! Richard Rohr
One of the saddest cases I have come across regarding medication and a refusal to take it was because of stubborn pride. He had Psychosis (Schizophrenia). He wasn’t a threat to himself or others, but his unwellness and refusal to accept the diagnoses and suggested medication lead to incredible levels of stress on the family.
If he had just accepted the diagnoses, taken some medication, swallowed his pride, he and his family would have had a happier life.
Are you weak enough to have the strength to ask for help?
Please, for your sake and sake of those who love you, open yourself to the reality of your fragility.
If you have been holding back on just how depressed, anxious, etc. that you really are, then please embrace this as being part of your broken humanity.
That there are thousands of others just like you and then go and get some help.
Contact a friend, see your doctor. Be real and honest.
Questions to answer
- What do you think about my thoughts on a deep desire to be back in the garden?
- Why are we so stubborn in resistance to getting help?
- Is it weak to take medication?
Quotes to consider
- We are unfinished creatures– longing, reaching, stretching towards fulfilment. Eugene Peterson
- Spiritual paths and practices that distance us from what it means to be a human are not good for humans. David Benner
- Spirituality can and should help us become more deeply human and more fully alive. David Benner
- The route to wholeness is not perfection but embracing the realities of our lives David Benner
- If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. C.S. Lewis
Image by Ben White
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