Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Job stress, pain and healing

This story starts with a cracked tooth. No need to wince—it cracked one summer day, but then caused me no more trouble.

However, that next winter, my work situation snowballed into one of the toughest periods of my life. What had been a dream job abruptly became a nightmare. Upper management went through a shift in thinking, which was directly affecting my project. My team, who I cared deeply about, became confused and disoriented even as we tried to comfort each other and adjust. As manager, I felt responsible for the outcome. The stress was wiping me out and lowering all my defenses.

And right in the middle of this, my tooth decided to flare up.

At first I tried to handle it from a strictly physical point of view, meaning I'd address the physical problem with my prayerful treatment and hope to heal it that way. No go. The pain, unfortunately, kept increasing. It became the focus of my world, I couldn't even think about work anymore. I went to a local dentist who informed me there was an infection and the tooth couldn't come out until the infection was gone. He prescribed antibiotics and painkillers, told me how I could clean the area, and sent me home.

For the first time in my life, I got a prescription filled. Strange experience, the person behind the counter even had to instruct me how to take a pill, which I'd never done. She also told me when I was on this medication, I wouldn't be able to "operate heavy machinery," meaning I couldn't drive. But I had an important family trip the next day that couldn't be cancelled. I had to be able to drive.

So I took the pills home and stuffed them in a drawer. If the pain was simply from an infection, I felt I could deal with it. I'd healed infection before without medication, I was convinced I could do it again. I also did the cleaning the dentist recommended.

Here's when I finally began to address what was the real root of the problem—the work stress. I had many significant conversations with family members and in-the-know work associates who were supportive and understanding. I drew on this support for a growing conviction that despite all appearances, all was well. God, Spirit, was in control. Of me, of my tooth, of work. I was not spinning somewhere outside of His control.

And His control was Love. My subordinates were also enveloped in that Love, which had always motivated all that we were doing and had the power to protect us now.

Throughout these several days, I had bouts with pain but also painless, Love-filled moments. When the pain was gone, I knew only the Truth. I'd use these breaks to shore up my defenses as much as possible with heightened prayer and conviction. I began to feel a sense of control over the pain as I specifically addressed both the physical and mental symptoms. I don't want this to sound like it was easy, because it wasn't, but it was productive and inspiring. I felt that God was with me.

We took the family trip, me driving most of the way, and it worked out. The kids had a great time anyway and I even got some rest. I got immediate help from the prayerful support of others when I needed it, and I took it from there.

Within a few days after the trip, the pain eased off and disappeared. I took this to mean the infection was healed. When the tooth removal date came, the dentist remarked that he was glad the antibiotics had worked, and I told him I'd never taken them. He extracted the tooth fairly easily (yes, I did consent to using Novocain!), and continued prayer in the aftermath made the healing process happen harmoniously. No further complications.

This experience strengthened me to face the work situation with more equanimity. I recognized I had been allowing the stress to affect me. I'd let it in, thinking something had changed for the worst. This was the real "infection." As I grew in my understanding that nothing good could be lost, that nothing had changed in reality and that my team and I were safe and loved and appreciated by God, I felt a renewed harmony in the workplace. When my project ended shortly thereafter and I moved on to other things, I was actually grateful. My subordinates, too, made transitions that were completely right for them.

Moral of the story? If there's any moral, it's that we're holistic beings. We can't separate out physical wellbeing from emotional and spiritual. I needed to learn that harmony in one area supported harmony in another—that I am one, whole, loved child of the Creator, and that Creator adjusts things perfectly on all levels.

I lost a lot of fear in those two weeks, and gained a lot of Love.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 10/18/2006 09:33:00 AM, Anonymous Dennis (BigRaff) said...

May I ask a question? If one can pray through to heal the infection, why not the tooth itself?

Although not a Christian Scientist, I do study it so my question is an honest one.

Along these lines, one problem I had once in going to the dentist to have crown, was that it took 5 shots for the Novacain to take effect. I was reading S&H and my faith in it must have lessened.

At 10/18/2006 09:55:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

excellent question, dennis! will address it in my blog entry tomorrow. :) also, if anyone else has any thoughts, please post them here!


At 10/18/2006 11:08:00 AM, Blogger athos said...

Dennis, you are right -- there are no "exclusions" from the healing effects of Christian Science. Having said that, still the study and practice of CS is very individual. FOr instance, my mom had a tooth extracted with no Novocain, but I prefer to have several shots for a tooth filling! The fear, to me, of the pain is pretty strong. But not to my mom. So, each of us is working on eliminating our own fears with our individual understanding of CS. Bottomline, healing of anything in the material condition is possible. Hope this helps.

At 10/18/2006 12:11:00 PM, Anonymous Dennis R. (Big Raff) said...

Athos, thank you for the input. I can understand that. It is like glasses (which I wear so no condemnation). Some of the most successful healers wore them eg Joel Goldsmith. I always wonder why they did not pray for healing.

I guess it might be a matter of priorities.


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