Recently, I listened with interest as my friend described to a small group how she had experienced serious back problems for 35 years. She shared with gratitude that she was now free from these back problems after one year of treatment with an alternative care provider. I was surprised when one of the women in the group expressed dismay that it had taken a whole year to heal.
In our quick-fix culture we are constantly being told that instant healing is a pill or a surgery away—or even a diet or an alternative treatment away. Yet, how many times have you (or someone you know) actually experienced an instant, permanent cure? Contrary to appearances, everyone has some healing work to do in this life. Illness and healing are simply a part of the school of life.
One of the most important aspects of healing is the learning and growth that accompanies the process. But often we see healing as a final goal, a destination at which we will arrive and be done.
In high school and college, good grades and the prospect of be-ing “done” were my primary motivators. Happily, I rediscovered my love of learning when I began home schooling my children. Now, the idea of being “done” with learning and education sounds terrible to me.
I find strong parallels between education and healing. Both are all about learning and growth. We can try to cheat and skip past the learning and growth, but in the long run that really does not serve our best interests.
As a home schooler, one of my favorite philosophers is Charlotte Mason, an English educator who lived about one hundred years ago. I recognize much wisdom in her teaching methods, and my children (and I) have benefited greatly from her work. Mason advocated “living books” for children and her primary philosophy was “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” In other words, education is something you live and do every day. It is never finished; it is a way of life.
Perhaps illness and disease are a part of our education in this life. Healing is a part of life that brings learning and growth, if we are open to it.