Health and Religion: 3/18

Last week I had surgery to fix a chronic knee injury (it went great). My mother posted something on Facebook about the surgery, and I had a relative comment “praying for a speedy recovery”. I then thought about how religion is often strengthened when someone is experiencing an injury or illness. People use religion to pray for recoveries or as a way to maintain structure during the difficult time. In addition, people use prayer and other rituals to show support for the afflicted. I have seen many examples of people sending “thoughts and prayers” when their loved one is ill. Health problems can also cause people to become religious when they were not previously. There are many stories of people who were not religious until they were tremendously impacted by a health issue. They might attribute their recovery to prayer, God’s grace, or a sign of God’s plan. People who are religious process injuries and illnesses with a different meaning system than someone who is not religious. For example, I went into the surgery knowing it was going to go well because I believed in my doctor’s abilities. In contrast, someone who is religious might feel relaxed before a surgery because they have faith God will protect them or that God gave their surgeon the ability to help them. People find strength in difficult times though different means (it does not mean one is better than the other). Even though I am not religious, I really appreciated my relative’s comment. It shows that she placed me into a sacred part of her religious life.