The last few months I have witnessed the fragile human condition. From disease to accidents and injuries, health problems haven persistently been present. “We arrived at the point when our parents are reaching old age or are already gone,” a friend told me recently, “and over the years, we also begin to feel the fragility of our bodies.” But this is not just a matter of age. We also hear and face so many stories of children in hospitals, or of painful losses. Perhaps you have also gone through a painful experience.
However, if we are objective, we will realize that these months have not been different from previous ones. The truth is that it has always been like that, but only when the fragility appears close, we become aware of our body and mind. Any ailment affecting you or a loved one is enough to remind you of how wonderful it is to enjoy good health.
To enjoy life when we are healthy is to honor it as a blessed gift. Enjoying life when you suffer from a chronic illness that affects your daily lives, or even when a severe diagnosis becomes a sentence is a much more complicated predicament.
When our fragility becomes more apparent, there is a greater need for the love of life, with all it entails, like it or not. Only by accepting the reality as it appears we experience life in its fullness. To paraphrase the Christian liturgy of marriage, we must love each other at all times: in sickness and health.
People that overcome a disease, or a health problem have one thing in common: they don’t identify themselves with the condition they suffered. From a tumor to a paralysis, these people can see beyond the pain, or the loss of any ability, and see themselves in a more comprehensive and transcendent way.
When they say, “I am not only this cancer” or “I am not only this body that cannot function as before,” what they’re saying is that their true selves are not limited or bound by the condition that affects them. They can love unconditionally.
Equally important it is that the people around them also see beyond the suffering, offering their love, support, and compassion—from dignity rather than from pity. The best support we can give to a loved one is to lessen their pain or distress with loving actions.
The next time you say, “the most important thing is health,” think about it. Indeed, health allows us to enjoy the pleasures of life, but for those who have seen their health temporarily or permanently affected, the most important thing is the love they receive from others and feel for themselves. No ailment diminishes the real value of a person, but the lack of love takes life from life.
Eli Bravo is the Managing Director and Chief Editor of Inspirulina, a Spanish content website with articles on wellness, personal growth, and health. ■