Almost 13 months to the day, I joined several of my colleagues at PainWeek 2013 in Las Vegas, where PROMPT and PROP had planned an all-out debate which ultimately was transformed into an informational session because earlier scheduled participants had some “misgivings” about the format. Some will recall that last year’s meeting fell on Yom Kippur, a Day of reflection and atonement among Jews worldwide.
Today is particularly special because once every 33 years the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur coincide as both Judaism and Islam rely on lunar calendars.
Without intent to sanctify anything religiously, I thought it would nice to reach out to our blog followers from any, all, or no religious faiths simply because of the unusual and coincidental spiritual eclipse of the day.
Muslims are marking Eid al-Adha, a three-day holiday that started Saturday across much of the Middle East. It commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim — or Abraham as he is known in the Bible — to sacrifice his son in accordance with God’s will, though in the end God provides him a sheep to sacrifice instead. On the start of Eid al-Adha, Muslims slaughter sheep, cattle and other livestock, and give part of the meat to the poor.
Is this a triple whammy? YES! For many U.S. churches, today also marks the celebration of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. It commemorates the life of St Francis, born in the 12th century, the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment.
And, as a former professor of mine, Dr. Fred Arthur Childs, posted today on Facebook, “The Yad Vashem site recounts the story of the Assisi Network, which harbored hundreds of Jews in Franciscan friaries and convents around Assisi.”
What’s the bottom line? Human or animal, we can all get along!
What does this have to do with paindr.com or those experiencing chronic pain and the many clinicians that care for them? I am reminded that worldwide people continue to suffer day in and day out; others are trapped “within” spiritually and suffer daily because they lost precious loved ones to an opioid overdose; and still others seek to ubiquitously label all that require opioids as opioid-laden addicts that don’t really require potent chronic opioid therapy and might somehow respond to everything but opioids.
Inspired by annual dialogue recited within Temples worldwide, there is much applicability to those with chronic pain and for those that care for them personally or professionally.
So, for every person who carries the burden of chronic pain,
and for those that care for them;
and those that are daunted by the wrath of depression and anxiety;
and the medical providers that have chosen to abandon their promise of medical necessity after ruling out other options;
they should all perhaps reflect on their daily actions.
This reflection does not require a religious connection, but more importantly a humanistic understanding of right from wrong.
So once again this year, I think we ALL need to reflect on the following excerpts which clearly are applicable to the clinicians that care for patients, those that profess to be pain pharmacotherapy experts, journalists that are more interested in selling stories than publishing ALL the facts, and politicians…
For passing judgment without knowing the facts, and distorting facts to fit our theories.
For deceiving ourselves and others with half-truths,
And for pretending to have emotions we do not feel.
For using the sins of others to excuse our own, and for denying responsibility for our own misfortunes.
For condemning in our [colleagues] the failures we tolerate in ourselves,
And for condemning in our [teachers] the faults we tolerate in Ourselves.
Whose hunger shall be for the good, Who shall thirst for justice and right.
Whose tongue shall be a thrusting sword, Whose words shall make for peace.
Who shall be plagued by fear of the world, who shall struggle for lack of friends.
Who shall rest at the end of the day, who lie sleepless on a bed of pain.
Who shall go forth in the quest of truth, Who shall be locked in the prison of self.
Who shall be serene in every storm, Who shall be troubled by the passing breeze.
Who shall be poor in the midst of possessions, Who shall be rich, content with their lot.
In closing, for those who continue to endure daily pain, I wish continued hope, courage, and trust that we live in a country where people are honest and caring; that your suffering WILL NOT be for naught; and that redemption of your ailments will eventually be forthcoming.
And, for those folks who profess to be the experts and thrash their tongue about to the media while more and more patients continue to suffer, remember…
You are not so righteous to say: I have not sinned. People are in fact arrogant, brutal, careless, destructive, egocentric, false, greedy, heartless, insolent, and joyess. Our sins are an alphabet of woe.
You cannot be Judge and Arbiter, Counsel and Witness.
You are not God!
As usual, comments are encouraged!
Italics above from Gates of Repentance
The New Union Prayerbook for the Days of Awe
Central Conference of American Rabbis, 5738 NY 1978