A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Brokenness and Faith

Posted on: July 9, 2015

zebra finch

Queenie, our female zebra finch and the latest addition to our “zoo”

I’ve mentioned we kind of have a small zoo at my house. Most of my pets cope with chronic conditions but keep on going:

  • Skittles, my senior cat, has arthritis and needs two insulin shots each day for diabetes, but it doesn’t stop him from watching the wildlife and being social (and complaining at our other cat, Pixie).
  • Syd, one of our zebra finches, has balance issues and isn’t always stable on his perches, but he can often be found flying around the cage and trying to build a nest that his cage mate, Bart, will pull apart.
  • Queenie, our newest zebra finch, was picked on by the male finches she was housed with at the store and suffered an injury to her legs, but she chatters from her perches (which are wrapped with self-adhesive bandages) and flies like the wind when she’s out of her cage.
  • Molly, our bulldog, has hip dysplasia and had dental surgery on Tuesday for overgrown gums (hence the single post this week), but most days, she still plays tug-of-war with her toy like a puppy and guards her domain.

And we also have a corn snake, Rusty, who continues to shed and grow regularly.

Maybe it’s because they instinctively know health issues can’t slow them down, but as I see each day, animals can be surprisingly resilient. The flesh may be weak, but their spirits are still willing.

Is the same true of us?

Sometimes people succumb to illnesses that shouldn’t have ended their lives; my grandfather was a case in point. And sometimes people survive when doctors expect the worst. Brad Willis, formerly a foreign news correspondent, wrote about the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in his autobiography, Warrior Pose: How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life. He noted that wounded people who had loved ones to support them survived terrible injuries, while the mercenaries without that kind of support failed to recover.

This echoes the words I read today in Proverbs 18:14*:

A man’s spirit will endure sickness;

but a broken spirit who can bear?

Whether we face a chronic condition such as Crohn’s or diabetes, a more immediately life-threatening illness such as cancer, mental health issues, or addiction, a broken spirit can’t help our prognosis. On the other hand, when we have the support of family, friends and our faith community and a strong faith in the Lord, our recovery isn’t guaranteed but we’re better equipped to face the situation, do our part to work toward better health and feel hopeful about the future.

Whatever our challenges, may we trust in God to be our strength and heal our brokenness of spirit.

For God alone my soul waits in silence,

for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my deliverance and my honor;

my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

~ Psalm 62:5-7

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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