Spirituality is about finding meaning in life, and about living a meaningful life. This may be with or without belief in a higher being, and with or without organized religion. Regardless of one’s set of beliefs, spirituality is most certainly about a sense of wonder about the world and a desire to understand one’s place in it.
Those with significant illness may find that religion or belief in a higher being can strengthen their spirit. Alternatively, they can also find that religion in and of itself can be difficult to fit into the context of chronic illness and the changes it brings. With this in mind, Grace Under Water includes stories and resources on all perspectives regarding spirituality. It seems most valuable to look at spirituality as something that may shift and change during times of great personal (physical, health, and mental) upheaval, in the same way that health and wellness may also shift.
Research on pain and suffering in chronically ill and terminally ill patients has suggested that spirituality may provide a framework for re-formulating one’s view of the world, leading to new priorities, a shift in values, and an emphasis on things that are within the control of a person. Although spirituality cannot heal chronic illness, it may be that spirituality (a sense of meaning) can provide a basis for processing significant changes in one’s life and changes in one’s perspectives. It is possible that doing so can change the context of illness from one of pain and loss, to one of learning and shifting priorities.
To that end, the following resources may be helpful. You’ll see that at the moment, it weighs a bit heavily on representing Ana Harris. In addition to being very open and descriptive about the role that spirituality plays in the context of her chronic lyme illness and Mold Avoidance, Ana also writes beautifully and simply, and she is a pleasure to read.
The Concept of Suffering
Suffering and the Problem with Christian Songs (Ana Harris, anaharriswrites.com)
The Use of Music in the Context of Suffering
Songs about Suffering (Ana Harris, anaharriswrites.com, )
An Atheist perspective (Nicolette Orgel, themighty.com, Jan 11, 2017)