Dealing With Chronic Disease: A Spiritual Practice


If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.

Do not leave
without hearing
who you are:
named by the One
who has traveled this path
before you.

Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.

I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from danger,
from fear,
from hunger
or thirst,
from the scorching
of sun
or the fall
of the night.
But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.

I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.

I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
bearing comfort
and strength,
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
curious insistence
whisper our name:


—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

It seems to be our human experience in dealing with chronic disease, (especially an unseen one) that we unintentionally hurt and misunderstand one another.  Instead of asking for an explanation so we can understand and support, we sometimes make assumptions based on ignorance. Other times we are impatient and push the other to get better because we’re tired of listening. Sometimes a valid sentiment! I’ve done all the above! Likely you have too.

My spiritual practice around this tendency, however, takes a different perspective. I want to grow into a place where I don’t have to have full understanding and respect around the chronic disease that I have lived with for ten years. Enough of this lonely feeling of abandonment! 

This mantra seems especially timely considering the pandemic when so many suffer so intensely:

I am Beloved.
I have everything I need within me.
I am Beloved.

Photo Credit: Autumn Road by ferro hanc,

2 thoughts on “Dealing With Chronic Disease: A Spiritual Practice

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