This blog is part of an ongoing series that answers an intriguing question: What might it mean for older adults to claim that they are still “fearfully and wonderfully made?”
My family doctor is insistent that I stay healthy. His mantra is simple: “Bob, you’re responsible for your health, not me!” I leave any visit with a collection of recommendations about what I can do to correct a problem or improve an aspect of my health. My doctor gets it: Pills are one of the last steps in the overall sequence of remedies that start with preventative self-care!
Because my body is “the temple of the Holy Ghost,” it makes sense that this corporal temple is not going to look good or remain functional if I defer maintenance, forget to inspect its foundation, let weeds grow, allow vermin to inhabit its inner rooms or slather its walls with harmful chemicals. (What an insult to the Holy Ghost!)
All this implies that I can’t be passive about my well-being. I cannot live as though, by just leaving everything alone, I will continue to enjoy good health. Staying healthy by doing nothing is worse than magical thinking: It makes no sense. At any age!
I am older than I used to be, so the list of recommendations is longer. I get that. But I also understand that when I ignore signs of ill-health, maintain careless lifestyle habits, pretend that I’m invincible or think that I know better than my physicians—that’s when my passivity, laziness, fear or secret self-loathing will come back to bite me.
That bite—the pain of difficult treatment, pills-with-side-effects or surgeries—will hurt my body, spirit and soul. The result of doing nothing—being apathetic about God’s gift of good health—may be overwhelming. It may crush my willingness to do much more than complain, carp or whine about doctors, medical technology or the high cost of insurance or pharmaceutical companies.
Ready to listen to YOUR insistent doctor….?
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