the gifts of illness

I recently read this quote in the book Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy by Amy L. Lansky, PhD.

“I believe that it is an attitude of loving acceptance coupled with confidence in cure that is the key to recovery for anyone. I have read that it is not the fighters who recover from cancer. Rather, it is those individuals who are able to embrace their illness and its gifts, while still maintaining confidence that they will get to the other side of it. A difficult state of mind to achieve – no doubt about it! While acceptance of disease may be achieved by some, if it is not coupled with confidence in cure, it can sometimes lead to psychological investment in disease. When this happens, the positive intentionality that fosters the curative process becomes derailed.” (page 71)

This is such an interesting quote to me.  While one can certainly find exceptions to the words I bolded above, I think there is a lot of truth to those words.  Finding gifts in an illness or some other type of problem is difficult to do, but I know that my illnesses and problems have given gifts to me that I might never have experienced otherwise.

And the thought about becoming “psychologically invested in disease” is extremely interesting to me.  I’ve seen it more than once where people find their identity in their illness, in their problems.  It saddens me when I see people living their lives like that, and it makes me resolve to never do that myself, a reminder I need every so often.

This March marks three years since my miscarriage.  While I hope and pray that I never have to go through that experience again, that ordeal did teach me lessons and give me gifts (yes, I can now call them “gifts”) that have become incredibly valuable to me.  More specifically, God used my miscarriage experience to help me grow up and grow in faith in him.  It made me a better mother, a better friend, a better teacher, and (I think) a better pastor’s wife, too.

Rather than fighting our problems in life and trying to instantly fix them, there is value in “embracing the illness and its gifts, while maintaining confidence that you will get to the other side.”  Or, to put it in more Biblical-sounding words, It’s good to be content whatever your circumstances, because everything works for good to those who love God.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this quote.  If you have time, please leave me a comment.  Thanks!