Last summer we attended a family reunion in Alberta that commemorated my husband's family's 60 years in Canada. The weekend was filled with games, food and a worship service that included the first hymns that the German immigrant family had learned in English.
My daughter was eating lunch with a friend at an inner-city diner when
they saw a painfully thin young woman stagger down the center of street
outside, her face and limbs contorted and flailing, her eyes rolled back
into her head. Soon a police car pulled up.
A study of HIV-positive men and women showed that those who engaged in spiritual practices had a two to four times greater chance of survival than those who didn’t. The researchers began interviewing people at the mid-stage of their disease. The researchers asked participants whether they prayed, meditated, went to religious services, were grateful to God for what they had, or believed that God could forgive them for wrongdoing. The findings showed that the way people focus on the meaning of life and relate to God can affect health, even in the case of HIV. Roughly one-fifth of the participants engaged in “positive spiritual reframing” of their disease, seeing it as a way God was using them, for example. These people had a survival rate four times greater than that of the others (Atlantic, May 6).