A Classroom of Virtue
Twenty one months ago, September 10, 2016, I went to the kitchen and couldn’t lift my coffee cup. That afternoon my legs started getting very heavy. The next day I was in the ER and quickly diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), an auto-immune disorder which attacks the lining of your nerves. For the first five months I was completely bed-ridden, unable to use my arms or legs at all. Today, after several hospital stays of length and intense PT and OT, I am able to walk unassisted perhaps 150 ft. but still have no use of my fingers. Yes, this has been a great learning experience… and what have I learned?
I’ve learned that sickness has purpose. No, I don’t believe that God gave me this sickness so I would learn; rather I believe that sickness is a part of our physical life on this plane and it is up to me to find the innate meaning in the endeavor.
I’ve learned that I had to suffer to discover who I really am and what I am here for.
I’ve learned that I’m on this earth to expand my consciousness of what is truth, beauty and goodness.
I’ve learned that my sickness has most definitely connected me with something bigger than my ego.
I’ve learned that healing is paradoxical in that it’s not the sickness itself that causes the most pain, rather it’s my emotional, psychological and spiritual reactions to my sickness that cause the most pain.
I’ve learned clearly that my six signature spiritual strengths have been and are my fundamental motivational energies throughout this process.
I’ve learned that in order for me to heal it is mandatory that I see the benefits and the purpose of my sickness and suffering.
I’ve learned that I must learn something new in order to heal… that healing asks me to change my former self story of who I am to a new story.
I’ve learned that finding God’s Spirit in me delivers vitality, meaning, and color that restores life.
I’ve learned that sickness can stir up my deepest, even unconscious conception of soul so that I can embrace the deeper truth of me.
I’ve learned that I am enveloped in God’s grace, and this grace pervades my being at the most fundamental levels.
I’ve learned to access the indwelling wisdom of my six spiritual strengths; and that when I don’t I simply slog along in life.
I’ve learned to tolerate and even strangely embrace discomfort.
I’ve learned that I was formerly too comfortable; a place where I couldn’t get beyond my ego desires, I couldn’t make soul nor could I transcend the world to make a home with God.
I’ve learned that things of the heart count a whole lot more than things of the head.
And finally, I’ve learned to live a truer story of who I am in the sacred now.
Richard P. Johnson, PhD
If you’d like to learn more about your personal six signature spiritual strengths, I recommend you take the Spiritual Strengths Profile (SSP).