Healing Hands

The New Testament contains dozens of accounts of Jesus healing the sick and infirm, as well as those in need of spiritual healing.  People were drawn to him with illnesses that they wanted healed, but left with changed hearts, changed attitudes, and changed perspectives.Physical healing is something that we all require from time to time, and I have experienced the greatest contemporary manifestation of “healing hands” in those of the Chiropractor.

I grew up in a “medical” household, my father was a dentist, and although there were a few chiropractors in the area, we were always steered away from this “non-conforming” style of medicine to our family Physicians (MDs only of course, as even Osteopaths were somewhat suspect).

But I came to understand and appreciate Chiropractic through my own injury experience, and although it started as an encounter of desperation, it has turned into over three decades of family preventive care for me and for my wife and children.

Three weeks before my college graduation, I was in a car accident in which I was at a stop, hit from behind and driven into a car in front of me that was making a left turn.  I had my first ambulance ride to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson NJ for treatment of a whiplash injury, and went to my graduation ceremony in a neck brace.

For the next two years, I used the brace, medication, and more medication to alleviate the recurring pain of this injury, to the point where I could not cope any longer.  In the meantime, I had moved to New Orleans, where I continued to be plagued by the perpetual pain.

I was desparate to get past this cycle of medicating the pain symptoms, realizing now that the cause of my pain was not being corrected.

As a last resort, I decided to call on a family member, my cousin John, who happened to be a Chiropractor, to see if there was anything he could do for me. Still holding onto my innate prejudice against this form of medical science, I went to my first appointment with him, and clearly stated that I did not really believe in this stuff, but I was at wit’s end, and wanted to see if he could help.  I also stipulated that I wanted him to tell me everything he was going to do in the treatment process and explain why he was doing it.  I was probably not the best of patients at the onset.

John was very patient with his patient, and calmly explained each treatment, as we went through a couple of months of therapy.  He X-rayed me and showed me some anomalies in my spine, especially my neck that he felt were caused by the initial whiplash and what he would do to treat me.

Slowly, my body responded to treatment, and within a few months, I was experience less pain and longer periods of time completely pain free.  Of course, a few months later, I had to move back to New Jersey, but some coincidental good news was that John had a classmate at Palmer College who happened to be an old High School Classmate.  Dr. Barrett grew up in a Chiropractic family (his father was a Chiropractor in my home town, and his brother and brother-in-law had also entered the field).

So I moved back to NJ, and Barrett became my Chiropractor and continued the treatment that my cousin had begun.  Barrett has treated me ever since, and has become not only my entire family’s Chiropractor, but we look to him now as our Primary Care Physician.

The reason for writing about Barrett in this blog, is that this morning, I heard something in our conversation that brought to mind the healing ministry of Jesus, and the parallels in His work 2000 years ago with the holistic healing that I receive today.

I went to him for a regular adjustment today, but in the course of our treatment, I mentioned an issue I was having with my hip.  We discussed my condition, and I realized that I brought this up because over the years, Barrett had taught me to listen to my body, and to notice when the first signs of mis-alignment were occurring, which of course prompted me to relay more information to him when I went to his office.

I know that Chiropractors have many different viewpoints on spirituality and world view, but what came to mind in my encounter this morning was the realization that Jesus’ ministry was in some ways a similar healing ministry.  His teachings guided those who heard him to seek Him for healing, but more importantly, to look into themselves and be tuned into their hearts and minds more deeply.  Jesus showed us the critical need to look at our lives, and go to Him as soon as we notice any deviation in our lives that may lead us down a wrong path.

Even the slightest twinge of sinful tendencies, if ignored, can lead us down a destructive path where we are in danger of adjusting to the subluxation of our souls until, weeks or months or years later, we can reach a point of no return.  We need to constantly assess ourselves through study and fellowship to make sure that we see when we are in need of an “adjustment”.  We need to be sure not to ignore the insignificant change in our lives that may not outwardly tell us “Don’t go there”.

I am thankful to have Dr. Barrett to continue to keep my body in physical balance, and thankful to know that Jesus is there to continue to provide for my spiritual well being in the form of the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the Church to keep my life in spiritual balance.

Praise the Lord, my soul; 

all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 

Praise the Lord, my soul, 

and forget not all his benefits— 

who forgives all your sins 

and heals all your diseases, 

who redeems your life from the pit 

and crowns you with love and compassion, 

who satisfies your desires with good things 

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

(Psalm 103: 1-5, NIV)

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