Why was This my Karma? Part III

Wellness + Spirituality=“Medicine”=Nuwati

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Maya Angelou

Criticism is easy to come by these days. If you’re really clever, you can make a living as a critic, like Siskel and Ebert.  If not, then you can just have a lousy time being married. lol But let me quote what Louise Hay says is the “Probable Cause” of arthritis in her book titled, You Can Heal Your Life: Feeling unloved. Criticism. Resentment.

There is certainly a genetic component to almost every dis-ease that humans are heir to–especially the chronic sort. All of us experience stress in our lives from our experience and exposures in our life path and enviroment. Whatever our genetic weaknesses and strength may be–these can dictate how the stresses effect us.

In Part I of this piece, I described how my father became discouraged with his medical career, but I did not mention that at the time this happened, he had developed severe symptoms of arthritis.  I remember that at age 50, he took up a cane and walked around like an old man.  He also had very swollen joints in his hands. He recovered after an interesting series of events during that “summer of his discontent.”

As a doctor, my father has always been something of a perfectionist and, not coincidently, a critic.  It’s hard to do things right for him.  As I have lived with him now for the past 3 years, caring for him in his old age, the ugly head of his critical nature has reared its head more times than I care to dwell upon.  And when I look at my own personal traits, I see so much of him in myself!  And its not a pretty picture! This is only one of my traits and his, this penchant for criticism, thank heaven. But it does factor into this story of our summer of ’72.

In the spring of 1972, I had become a “Jesus Freak.”  That is, I’d gone through a spiritual re-awakening that I have written about before. In a nutshell, I experienced reality as if a kind of x-ray of love was pouring forth from every  object….except from human beings. This was an experience of the “ground of the universe.” I discovered what was at the base of all reality….a unified field of love–except that human beings could divorce or estrange themselves from this field, at least in terms of their thoughts and feelings. It’s interesting to note that this happened to me in May, right at the time of the Christian celebration of Whitsun, which is the festival honoring the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples after the crucifixion. I always imagine this is what happened to me!

When the college semester ended, I went home to find my father, the doctor, as low as I was high.  He was in pain and very depressed. In addition to saying that “There are more and more sick people all the time,”  he was also saying, “You’d be better off in I were dead, then you could collect the insurance.”  This he was saying at age 50 years!

My mother was stuck with no where to turn.  A doctor does not like to listen to the advice of a lay person–that’s been my experience–nor do husband’s and wives really like to listen to the other’s advice.  My father took pain killers to deal with his problems and as they say: “A doctor who treats himself, is treating a fool.”

That summer, I went with my parents on a trip to North Carolina (God Bless the Smokey Mountains!) to visit my father’s kin. My father spoke little and I spoke a lot, trying to lift his spirits or awaken him to the loving glory of the universe.  “I used to believe,” he said, “but now I am a man of Science.”  Such a classic dichotomy! It’s the bane-full duality of our modern era–Science versus Religion (or spirituality)–which MUST be resolved.

But Daddy would not be lifted…until….one night in a motel room, he got up to take some drugs.  My mother said:  “Oh, you don’t need that!” But he headed to the bathroom anyway, and I began to cry.  I cared SO MUCH about him and felt, The Bible says, “With Faith we can move mountains.”  So WHY can’t I help him?”  So I sobbed and sobbed.  And on his way back to bed, he heard me.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“I wish I could help you!” a fumbled through my tears.

“Oh, I didn’t know anyone cared that much about me,” he said.

Ouch!  I couldn’t imagine how my father could say such a thing!  Was it true?  Didn’t he know how much his wife and family loved him?  Wow!

The next morning at the breakfast table, I spoke to him, saying:  “Daddy, don’t you know how much I love you, and Mommy loves you, and all the rest of your family loves you?”

The rest of the conversation is a blur, but I did my best to get my point across, as emphatically and kindly as I could. What I do know is that in the following months, my father made a complete recovery. He arranged to shoulder fewer administrative duties at the hospital and focus more on medicine. And the first time I saw him again that fall when he visited me at college, he had a sprightliness to his step that spoke volumes to me.

What healed him?  Certainly a combination of factors.  But I always attribute a part of his recovery to the expression of love I offered that morning in the restaurant.

I’ve not taken a survey. But the sense of being unloved is probably one of the most universal feelings of humankind.  On top of this, place the penchant of our society to be critical of everyone and everything. A sense of not being loved is surely reinforced by having to live in an environment of criticality. And indeed, to be critical oneself surely exacerbates the situation, both in the context of one’s circle of people, and within one’s own mental and biological state. The acerbic tongue eats away at the one who wags it!

My arthritic hip came upon me in a manner different than my father’s arthritis. Or did it?  Hey!  That’s will be tomorrow’s topic!

In the meantime…..remember—“Stop asking and questioning why things are as they are…you know!”…Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha

Elizabeth Richie/Du’Tsu

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