Faith in G-d had been an ardent healer for many with chronic pain who attended some form of worship well into the 1950’s and early 60’s. The inspirational leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt since the Great Depression through World War 2, then John F. Kennedy, both of whom suffered from chronic pain, further influenced ones capacity to maintain hope and faith that G-d would get one through difficult times.
Then came the traumatic assassination of our visionary President, followed by the continuing television newscasts of our nation torn by the conflictual war in Vietnam. A period of grief and anger intermixed with a renewed sense of hope from changes in civil rights and from the inspirational leadership of such people as Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. An array of poetic lyrics and songs written by various artists depicted how the ‘times were definitely a changing.’ Many pain sufferers, once again, renewed their faith.
But ones faith in G-d and of those leaders in authority, let alone, of any form of institution, spiraled downwardly as we experienced the assasinations of the two idealized leaders, followed by Watergate then religious, sex abuse scandals. It’s no wonder many people turned from faith to anesthetizing substances to alleviate pain.
Now we have an addiction crisis.
Two years ago, I attended a Harvard University, sponsored conference on Addictions where a reputable Professor-Researcher from my undergraduate alma mater, NYU, discussed the results of his studies on the reasons for Alcoholics Anonymous attendance. He identified, through statistical analysis, that the primary factor that influenced substance users to regularly attend thousands of daily meetings was, of all things, their need for Spirituality and a belief in a Higher Power.
Have AA, NA, and OA replaced church, synagogue and mosque attendance?
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
At the end of each Saturday at synagogue service, we conclude with a verse,
“Do not fear sudden terror, nor the destruction of the wicked when it comes. Contrive a scheme, but it will be foiled; conspire a plot, but it will not materialize, for G-d is with you.
To your old age, I am with you; to your old age, I will carry you. I will sustain you and deliver you.”
There is much comfort to this verse. The hope is that you should find comfort in any statements of faith, especially if you experience chronic pain.