Perhaps an even better question: what IS health anyway?
I've got a lot of these questions racing through my mind after the last few months in particular of seeing many dear friends and relatives get hit hard by various illnesses, some absolutely life-threatening, others simply bringing misery and pain and some despair. All of us who are United Methodist here in this Conference are aware that one known as a spiritual giant among us, Rev. Kathleen Baskin-Ball, died of a very invasive cancer. Was it possible that in her passion for her call as a clergy person she drove herself so hard that even she got off balance and did not have reserves to fight off the cancer when it began?
I write that because there is some evidence now that many malignant cancers form and then disappear--the body is able to fight them off. How can some bodies fight them off, and some not be able to?
As I wrote in an earlier post, all three of my grandchildren experienced significant illnesses this fall. One was potentially life-threatening, the other two were simply felled by nasty viruses and other infections. Are these normal experiences of growing up in a crowded world with constant exposure to others who are ill?
A book I am currently reading about this history of ideas suggests that as soon as people stopped the roving hunter/gatherer lifestyle, they began to experience greater bouts of ill-health. These are guesses from archaeological evidence, but the theory is intriguing. People become more settled, the diet becomes less varied (with the development of agriculture and the domestication of animals), along with less physical exertion required to survive: perhaps all together make us more vulnerable to the disease process.
And then there is the question of stress: how much "stress" makes us more vulnerable to illness and how much is necessary in order to grow and thrive and create?
I've not got answers here, but am hoping to ponder and write about these things for a while. I just don't think that our spiritual health is a separate issue from our physical and emotional health, and I don't think one can be addressed without addressing the other. We shall see where these thoughts go. Any suggestions and ideas are welcome.