By: Linda Burhans
I know when I was on the cancer journey with my mother, faith was a very
important part of the process. As I cared for my mother during this very
intimate time our faith brought us closer together. Time and time again I have
also found this to be true in the support groups that I facilitate. Many people
have expressed to me that although faith and prayer may not have healed their
illness, it had healed their souls.
Studies have found that spirituality and faith are very important to the quality
of life for some people with cancer and other illnesses. Although research has not been able to support claims that spirituality can cure cancer or any other disease, the psychological benefits of faith may include reduction of stress and anxiety. It also may promote a more positive outlook and the strengthening of the will to live. Faith can give a person a guide for finding meaning and perspective through a source greater than self.
Researchers at John Hopkins University surveyed caregivers of persons with
end-stage cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. They discovered that successful coping was associated with only two variables; the number of social contacts and support received from religious faith.
It’s a very powerful thing to also know that others are praying for your return to health. My faith reminds me that I am not alone, that I am a part of the larger whole. Illness may often make us feel cut off from community, even from ourselves, and faith helps to defy that sense of isolation.
In my humble opinion, a little faith can go a long way! And when a friend asks if there is anything they can do to help, ask them to pray for you and your loved one.