Desperation and Wanting to Believe

Dear Reader,

We have reached a more optimistic place in dealing with my son’s chronic headache (he has been diagnosed as having New Daily Persistent Headache; basically he has had a headache for almost 10 months). He has had a few sessions of acupuncture and the last made more of a dent than the previous ones. His headache came down a couple of points and even though it didn’t stay down, we are pretty pleased. I had been praying that God would make it clear if we should continue with acupuncture and I would say He did that pretty clearly.

But before this mini-breakthrough, we have had moments of feeling pretty hopeless and desperate. I am from a mathematical, logical sort of family, and would have thought that I would never be the sort to try risky things like unapproved cancer treatments one has to go to Mexico for. But now I think I get why people latch on to these things. When you are desperate for a treatment or cure, and someone promises you good results, especially if they themselves come across as hopeful and optimistic on your behalf, it is hard to turn away from that.

Now I went into acupuncture with a lot of reservations. The acupuncturist herself is very kind and concerned, and very hopeful on our behalf. In the beginning it is hard to know if this is all genuine or should be trusted or if she herself is deluded about the possibilities. But I do believe she has begun to help us in a way that is more than just a placebo effect.

But what if it had been otherwise? I will admit i have many times googled headache and other things to see what options are out there. And been tempted to order comprehensive, expensive allergy and sensitivity tests for which there is little hard scientific evidence. We may still end up doing such things, who knows.

I guess the main point is that through our little trials (and nothing here  is life threatening) I have come to have a lot more sympathy for those who face real desperation. And also to see how easy it would be to prey upon such people.

And I think also that this extends beyond the medical realm. What about those with spiritual poverty? Those who are lonely or desperate for meaning in their lives. They too make easily cling onto cults promising them quick fixes or hope or a sense of belonging. It has always been the down and out, the powerless in society who are most likely to claim the gift of prophecy or miracle-working or some other spiritual power. And it is easy to see why this is so.

I don’t really have a solution. Just an observation. And perhaps a caution to those who are desperate and especially to those who may be tempted to take advantage of them.



2 responses to this post.

  1. You analogy is true I think, but then it is often when one is desperate and at the end of their tether that they finally realise their need of a saviour and cry out to God. There can be a genuine conversion. This was the case for me.
    Re you son. It is terrible for him that the headaches have persisted for so long. How does he cope emotionally? How do you?
    I have been out of circulation as far as blogs and comments go but I hope to catch up more and pray that you do find a remedy for the headaches. Meanwhile may God grant the grace and strength for you all the perservere.


  2. Ruby, Thanks for your comment. My son copes surprisingly well. Better than I think I would. Acupuncture is definitely making a dent in the headaches so I am praying that trend continues and that soon they will be all gone. He does get frustrated and discouraged sometimes. I think he feels the same way I do that it is hard to get your hopes up with each new doctor’s appointment or medicine only to be disappointed again. He expressed an interest in becomigna communicant member at church recently though and bizarrely it makes me happy that he did this while he still has the headaches. I take it as a sign that he is doing okay spiritually and is not just very angry with God about it. He is the quiet sort like my husband so it can be hard to tell what is going on inside him.


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