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Worship?

Over the years, I have taken hundreds of medical histories. I view medical history as a personal health biography. Everyone has a unique story to tell. No two are alike. Some have similar iterations; others are perfect and unusual in every way. Regardless of their illness, people remain people. People are complex. Humankind has a desire to worship something or someone. I ask people to express their religious habits in my intake paperwork. My original thought behind the detailed questionnaire was to make sure I understood each patient’s spiritual practices. I did not want to insult anyone by making a comment or an assumption about their rituals. Hearing the ideas of hundreds of people, I realized over time that those questions were much more significant to them then I had intended.

The first thing I learned is that what people worship is their god. Even though most patients profess a brand of Christianity in our community, they all do not worship Jesus. They say they do, but their actions tell a different story. So, what gods exist in our modern world? Many more than we realize.

One god patients worship is food. Edesia is the Roman Goddess of food. Edesian patients have the hardest time changing their food plans regardless of the reasons. I see diabetics eat large amounts of carbohydrates which is tantamount to ingesting poison. Disciples of Edesia will not break. They mostly worship at the temples of fast food restaurants but will sometimes pray at fine dining places. They are willing to pay money and tip handsomely for the services rendered. They are usually a member of a community of foodies who attend with them. Food is the most crucial aspect of their lives. They live to eat not eat to live. Many of them acknowledge God and say they worship Jesus, but their actions prove otherwise. Everything in their life revolves around food.

Another god patients worship is alcohol. Acan is the Mayan God of wine, liquor, and intoxicating beverages. Acanian patients cannot give up drinking because their life is wrapped up in relationships related to night clubs and bars. They feed off of the drama they encounter. Their temples are bars, nightclubs, and speakeasies. If they go a few days without alcohol, they find that their cravings ruin their lives. They seldom reflect on the detrimental effects of excess alcohol on their health. If I suggest they stop or significantly dimish their intake of alcohol, they disappear from my practice.

Another god patients worship is technology and social media. Indra, the Hindu god of thunder and lightning, is the deliverer of electricity which powers technology and social media. Idranian patients refuse to turn off their phones while in the patient care rooms. They have a keen sense of hearing. When the buzzing sound of their phone erupts, they search for it, find it, look at the screen and respond as if they are under a spell. They cannot turn the phone off. Many times, their excuse is that they have an elderly parent or young child that requires twenty-four-hour monitoring. They must take any call anytime anywhere. They worship Facebook. They have no rituals. They believe everything that social media reveals, regardless of absolute truth. They sleep, eat, and bathe with their phone next to them.

The most critical god patients worship is money. Caishen is the Chinese god of prosperity. Caishenian patients are mesmerized by affluence. They are downright stingy. They view everything in terms of cost, not benefit. They desire to get a deal on every financial transaction possible. They consider their self-worth as self-wealth. Caishenians fixate on the financial markets, interest rates, and simple gasoline prices at the pump. They may drive their vehicle twenty miles to get the lowest gas per gallon price in the region. Most of them come to the office and worry about the money they spend more than their health. They worship at banks; their heroes are billionaires.

Most patients espouse believing in a personal God. The words roll off of their tongue leisurely and unemotionally. Many of them do not live a life of service to others, and they worship some aspect of living more than they do the dimensions of spiritual holiness. When people stay in a stressful job that inflicts extreme harm to their health for the simple reason that it pays more than any other position they could perform, they are believers of Money. When people cannot let go of their phone for any reason, they are disciples of Social Media and Technology. When people cannot stop drinking or eating for any reason, even their health, they are followers of Food or Alcohol.

Many patients have balanced, healthy lives even though they are ill. Illness tends to put everything into perspective, regardless of circumstance. Those who can adjust, do. Those who cannot change their habits for some reason do not fare well.

Take a moment to think about who or what you worship. What is the underlying theme in your life? Don’t be fooled by the words you say or thoughts you have; look at your actions. Actions do not lie; words and ideas do. Everyone has their truth, but facts are the same regardless of your perspective related to them.

You cannot have your facts.

Doc.

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