I do not know of anyone who likes being sick. I know I do not. But not only is it bad to be sick, when I am sick, I feel like a scared little kid. I want my mom. There was something reassuring about having my mom around when I was sick. Unless it was a school day. Then it was necessary first to prove that you were sick. Well, not too much. Sometimes the sickness was obvious, like throwing up or diarrhea. Other times it involved a fever which also usually provided enough of a clue. There was the time I missed a week of school to pneumonia, and my parents suggested that after a week maybe I needed to get up an around to feel better. I was so tired of being stuck in the house I agreed. The problem was that while it did feel good to get out of the house on Saturday, the next day, Sunday brought the compression of multi-ton concrete blocks on my chest that is typical of being sick with pneumonia. I felt awful. The time with pneumonia was the only time ever I think I did not go to a Sunday Mass. (I even insisted on the day of my First Communion, even though I really was quite sick, that I felt well enough to make my First Communion that day. Unfortunately, I was really sick, and got sick and had to leave church. Oh well.
In one way or another, we all seek comfort when we encounter something unpleasant. It is only natural that we try to avoid suffering. When I was sick with pneumonia, there were a number of ways I could have tried to avoid suffering. But it was only the skill of the doctor who knew which medicine would make me well that I was able to get well. Unfortunately, avoiding suffering does not always seem to provide such an obvious choice. We sometimes seek to avoid suffering in a way that cannot eliminate it. The choice is knowing where to look to receive the right type of healing that actually has worth.
We know there are a variety of options. But we know that what appears to be healing is not always so. Sometimes things are presented as a healing but rather than complete healing, it only provides partial relief. Sometimes not even that, as what appears to be healing can actually make things worse. People who seek to avoid pain by using drugs or alcohol often discover the solution ultimately is worse than the suffering. Or, sometimes we throw ourselves so much into work to get the most our of life, but they lose what is most valuable in their lives.
Sometimes someone experiences a great trauma early in their lives which causes a great deal of pain. Sometimes the pain is no where near as great. Whatever it is, again and again we can face choices about what will bring relief. Just as real healing from my pneumonia came from medicine, and not anything else, to receive real healing, real comfort we must seek for it in the right place.