The question “who is being tested?” has been hanging over my head for weeks. I read Robin Roberts book Everybody’s Got Something and she makes reference to her more recent diagnosis of MDS (myelodyspastic syndrome), like her breast cancer diagnosis as a test. Perhaps she was referring to a test of her spirit, her faith, or her body, but still she framed it as a test.
Roberts book is not the first book, talk, or movie that makes reference to a life challenge as a test. We discuss adversity in the context of a test as if it were something we’ve been studying for years and we’re now ready for the test. How is it possible that you got selected for this test? How will you know if you pass the test? Some believe if they are healed, then they passed the test. This doesn’t sit well with me because that implies paying penance, or needing to prove something to the Universe.
Don’t you think it’s possible that you’re not the one being tested? Couldn’t you just be a vehicle for who/what is really being tested? How would you feel if you knew you were a catalyst for great change because you were diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness, or some other form of adversity? Are you willing to be a change agent? How is this possible?
If you want to stand on the side of being tested, let’s look at who is really being tested. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness maybe the scientists are being tested to come up with new research and medications for clinical trials. Maybe the medical community is being tested to find ways of improving their diagnostic techniques or their level of compassion.
Isn’t it possible that the religious, faith, or spiritual community is being tested to see if they walk their talk? In a world full of contradiction, the test might be to see if these communities can put into action what they say we “should” be doing when members of our communities are facing adversity.
It’s possible to take it one step further, seeing if our inner circle of family and friends are willing to stand by us as we walk through the health and healing pilgrimage. Research often shows that illness is the reason some couples get divorced because the healthy spouse can’t handle the pressure, stress, or incapacity of their spouse. Who’s really being tested by the illness diagnosis?
Are we so self-centered to automatically assume that we’re the one being tested? Have we been conditioned to believe that a diagnosis tests our faith, devotion, or ability to persevere? I believe there are other ways to exhibit these character traits other than facing adversity. Let’s reframe the challenges we face!
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