You and Your Health: Let Go, Let God

Woman walking outside

“I can hear fine!” Three people told me this last week after I kept repeating phrases to them and noticed their TV volume was cranked up to the highest number.

The reality is, as we age, we all experience some hearing loss. It is like a car: after it’s been driven for many years, certain parts wear down. Sometimes, through our work or lifestyles, we accelerate the process of hearing loss.

Admitting our losses is a tough thing to do. Our society idolizes youth and physical strength. Maybe we do not want to face aging. Or we might not notice gradual changes. Hearing loss is just one change we can experience: stamina, joint pain, and disease are others.

Acknowledging a physical problem can bring a whole set of new challenges and adjustments in our lives: visits to doctors, medical procedures, more medications, and life changes.

Some can easily admit their bodies are changing, weakening. They can say their knees hurt, or that they tire sooner than they did years ago. We all want to look good physically, and some invisible health losses, such as hearing, are easy to deny.

In God’s Image

Admitting that our bodies are facing physical change is not easy. Who wants to admit weakness? I remember when I first started using a cane after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). I was not even 40 and had to walk through our dining room to get to the cafeteria. Was I imagining eyes on me as I crossed the room? No. They were watching me.

I was embarrassed and self-conscious. It made good sense to use a cane. I was a bit more secure with it and could walk longer distances. Messages filtered back to me via my friends: “Karen’s MS is really bad. She is walking with a cane now!”

There are many “invisible” symptoms of MS, but using a cane is an immediate sign of weakness in my body, a dead giveaway of the progression of the disease.

The cane showed my physical weakness. But after a few weeks, I gradually became used to it. I swallowed my pride and just accepted it as part of the many losses of living with MS.

Only children look forward to getting older. The rest of us would like to stop time, but we have no power over that. We do have the power to choose how we respond to our body’s losses. We can dread those losses or honestly accept them.

We are made in the image of God. Our bodies, with all their imperfections, are a gift. May we use our strength and every limb to offer others compassion and kindness. May we embrace our losses as part of our life journey.

Psalm 139:14 reminds us, “I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew.”

Handy Tips

  • Be honest with yourself about physical changes in your body.
  • Maintain your sense of purpose and zest for life.
  • Accept your limitations with dignity and humor.
  • Talk about your loss to someone.

Next Month: ‘You Visited Me’

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