Rheumatoid Arthritis and Religion II


Ok, I’ve broached this topic a few times in the past.

Religion and Rheumatoid Arthritis

So there are these people in my life who every time they see me, cant help but offer me platitudes on the struggles of the soul in regards to illness. They offer truly thought provoking philosophical insights into the questions such as ” Why does God lets bad things happen?”.

Um- Ok, so I exaggerated. What usually comes out of their self righteous uneducated mouths is something along the lines of…

“Hey, ya know if you’d jus’ trust God a bit more, he’d sure heal you up just lickety split.”

“I’m real sorry to hear ‘bout you gettin’ turned down for surgery. But if you’d jus give for to God, he could heal you”

“Pssh, what do them doctors know anyhow? All a bunch of thieving’ crooks if you ask me.”

Me: “Yea. But wouldn’t they make more money if they actually did the surgery?”

“Yea, well they’re just so darn lazy, ya know?”

I get emails from my best friends mom. I know she does it because she loves me and it’s the only hope she can offer, but it’s just frustrating to me. It always comes back to the fact that I’m only sick because I’m not doing something right. I don’t trust enough. Or I am just not a good enough person. I am an example for everyone else on how not to be.

It’s funny, because off all the many religious people I know, I haven’t done the following:

( I’ll even just stick with the preachers, chaplains, youth leaders, and preacher’s wives I know.)

I haven’t done drugs.

I haven’t slept around on a husband or wife.

I haven’t blown 400 dollars a pop on coach purses from the tithes of the congregation

I haven’t treated my entire family to a trip to Hawaii on the tithes from the congregation.

I haven’t paid for a new car from donations.

I haven’t spent time in jail for theft.

I haven’t stolen money.

I haven’t had a baby out of wedlock.

I don’t drink and act like an idiot.

I haven’t turned my back on someone because they didn’t believe exactly like me.

I can manage to accept people for who they are and not how I think they should be.

I don’t tell a sick young woman that they must be sick because they are a bad person.

And they have the nerve to talk about me. They have the nerve to tell other people that I could have gotten that surgery if I had even bothered to attend services.

I am the only one out of my many religious acquaintances who has actually lived a moral life. Yet, I am the bad person.

I know there are many many religious many who are wonderful and do good things. I just don’t know very many.


Rheumatoid Arthritis and Religion

And here it is. In case anyone was wondering what I find to be the most frustrating part of chronic illness, I’ll tell you. It’s not the pain. It’s not the inability to do the simplest things. It’s not even the feeling of having your life on hold. The single worst thing is the way people treat you. And the worst way people can treat you is to act like its your fault you are sick.

I live in the bible belt. Very few people that I come into contact with in day to day life are not religious. And more often than not, they are very religious. I was raised by a very religious man. And even though my mother was more of a free spirit, my dad took his religion very seriously.

My best friends parents are the most religious people I know. They are also unbelievably wonderful people. They are truly amazing people, and I believe that everything they do they do out of the kindness of their heart. That being said, I have to say that they hurt me very very much. But I’ll talk about that later.

I have been around religious people all my life. I even briefly worked for a gospel station. I didn’t last long. I refuse to do into detail about the things that happened there. Lets just say that I was disgusted.

Now, I don’t want to get into a discussion about my own religious inclinations. Or dis inclinations. I have seen a lot of wonderful things happen in the name of religion. But I have seen alot more bad. A lot more.

If you have ever been around the self-righteously devout then you will know that they always believe they have the answer. There is always a reason for everything. There is always a lesson to be learned from suffering. There is always a way to be delivered from suffering. If you have enough faith, God can do anything, right?

So what if you have been prayed for by every preacher you can? What if those claiming to have healed others in the name of God fail to heal you? Well than there must be something wrong with you. Right? Well that’s what some would believe.

So here are the possibilities.

You either don’t have enough faith yourself. You are keeping you from being healed. ( I get this the most)

You have bad influences in your life. God is punishing you for reading your horoscope, or reading Harry Potter, or something equally silly. ( I also get this alot)

God is punishing you for not attending church.

Or even better, God is doing this because he loves you and by making you completely miserable, he is teaching you life lessons.

It couldn’t be, it just absolutely couldnt be that I just have some really stupid white blood cells. My older brother is autistic, I don’t hear anyone blaming him for it. ( And I better not ever).

The point is that it is hard enough dealing with disease. It makes it so much harder when people think its your own fault. It’s so silly. It’s so completely ridiculous. People are so insensitive.

Even the new age shop I have visited makes the same assumption. The native American holistic healer says the reason he wasn’t able to heal me is because I am not letting go of some inner hurt. And that I don’t really believe he can heal me. The latter is probably true. It’s all so ridiculous. But I guess I shouldn’t have been in there in the first place. Maybe that’s also keeping me from some  miraculous healing. Hahaha.