Spiritual Wisdom and Radiology 2
“I think spiritual wisdom is not the measure of how much we know, but how much we have learned. We discover wisdom over and over again when what we think we know meets what we have never encountered before. Spirituality can be a transcendent emotion, but it is also a rigorous intellectual journey. Faith may be a temple, but it is also a school.”
Bishop Steven Charleston Daily Facebook page
I am on my way to our national meeting in pediatric radiology where a dear friend is receiving our medical specialty’s highest award. I can’t help but think about how radiology and spiritual direction have so much in common.
In spiritual direction, as in radiology, the more people I work with, the more experience I have, the more often I recognize patterns that lead to what is going on, but always, there is something unique about this patient or person. Each person I visit brings a new learning experience. Also, it is so easy in radiology and in spiritual direction, after a while to see the work as routine and forget about the grace at work in each person I have the privilege to see.
In radiology, sometimes one of the hardest findings to discover is not that there is a tumor there, but there is something missing that should be there, for example one of the bones of the lower leg that should be there is missing. That might be hard to believe, but I have often been fooled by looking for what is added and have missed what has been taken away. In spiritual direction I see difficulties have developed because something has been taken away or was absent in that person, often in childhood, often the knowledge of a loving God. I am always amazed how beautiful it is to see a process or development that has ceased able to begin again once that missing part, that new arm or leg is restored.
As in radiology and in spiritual direction we are looking for the many “tumors or barriers” that are keeping a person from seeing God in themselves, keeping them from seeing God working in their life, keeping them from seeing God in each other.
I also need a reminder that all of these tools can be used for harm if not done properly, in the proper dose, at the proper time. Too much radiation may be harmful. For example, telling someone who has just experienced a death, that God will bring good out of this, could lead that person to lose faith in a God who needs death to bring about good. That message is for much later on when the person can see how God has healed him or her.