I have an autoimmune disorder. I was diagnosed immediately before moving to our first parish assignment. In our new home, I not only had to quickly find the grocery store, but all the doctors and resources needed for my care. Slowly but surely, as my experience changed and developed, new caregivers were added to the contact list on my phone. Each of them provided different information and perspectives that could be synthesized into a whole. Even later on, I started to acquire friends (in person and over the internet) who were going through the same experience as I was. We bounce ideas off each other, trade stories, compare symptoms, and encourage each other through the long path of chronic illness.
And I haven’t even begun to include the babysitters, friends, moms groups, and church members who regularly help me too.
In short, I have a whole team of people who help me to look after my physical health. When I write it all out, it can almost seem like overkill. But I’ve never felt more secure than when I’ve had this team of doctors, healers, and helpers in whom I’m confident and for whom I’m thankful. I’m rich in this resource, and extremely fortunate. I thank God every day.
Yet, on the way home in the car from one of my appointments, I had a revelation: who’s on the team for my spiritual health?
When I examine it, I know I have a group of people who are there for me, but do I utilize them the same way as my doctors? My father confessor, other spiritual advisors, and women who share my experience as a Presbytera are all in my life and available to me, but I know I don’t think about regularly checking in the same way as I do with my rheumatologist.
Granted, these spiritual and social ties can feel artificial when scheduled and methodical, but sometimes that’s what we need–to at least have check-ups and check-ins (of a kind) to support us in our journey towards theosis. The Church knows this, encouraging regular confession during each of the fasting periods, and with daily prayer rules and scripture readings. And the Church is the Body of Christ, filled with other people on the same journey—available to pray for and help each other along the way.
Goodness knows that life is full of sufferings and challenges, and we need all the prayer warriors we can get. How can I possibly flourish if I don’t take the same proactive and involved attitude with my spiritual health as I do my physical health?
Time for me to get a check-up.