Friday, April 24, 2009

Spiritual Diabetic Neuropathy

The last few posts have gotten a bit long, so I'll try and keep this a bit shorter. I was just reviewing my notes from Conference and thought I'd share some thoughts I had from Pres. Eyring's Priesthood talk. He spoke about the responsibility we have to look after others. This struck me because (well, mainly because I'm nerdy) I'd just attended a conference on diabetic neuropathy (see, I told you), which has some interesting parellels. Then, during the talk, he kind of drew them even closer together for me.

After reccounting the story from "Black Hawk Down," he said, "Such a feeling of responsibility for others is at the heart of faithful priesthood service. Our comrades are being wounded in the spiritual conflict around us. So are the people we are called to serve and protect from harm. Spiritual wounds are not easily visible, except with inspired eyes."

So what does this have to do with diabetes? One of the complications of diabetes, long term, is that it causes problems with your nerves, frequently in the hands and feet. When you start to lose sensation in your toes, you can't tell when your shoes are uncumfortable, or if there's a rock in your shoe, or even if you step on a thumb tack. This leads to infection. Also, the nerves that should control your sweat glands die off too, so now you have ultra dry skin, which cracks, and leads to opportunities for infection even without any particular trauma. Even normal feet generally have a relatively poor blood supply, which is how you fight off infections, so this adds up for a perfect storm, leading to a lot of lower limb amputations.

What's the solution? Well, one of the best things you can do for your feet is to examine them twice a day, and stop going around barefoot (ever) once you have lost/poor sensation. However, one of the things they stressed in the conference was the benefit of having someone else to help you. Having you husband/wife check your feet (even if it's every few days) can have a tremendous impact on the health outcomes for patients. The problems are detected early, before they start to take over and kill off a lot of tissue.

Same with the gospel. That's why the Church exists at all (or one reason anyway). Not be be each others master, but to check our feet for us. (Sometimes it's hard to see in some spots)

Pres. Erying said, "Only an authorized judge in Israel is given the power and the responsibility to verify that there is a serious wound, to explore it, and then, under inspiration from God, to prescribe the necessary treatment for healing to begin. Yet you are under covenant to go to a spiritually wounded child of God. You are responsible to be brave enough and bold enough not to turn away."

and, "I would never put off such an impression because I had learned that the wounds of sin are often not felt at first by the one being hurt. Satan seems sometimes to inject something to deaden the spiritual pain while inflicting the wound. Unless something happens soon to begin repentance, the wound can worsen and widen."

That's just the way sin works. Often, we don't feel its effects (peripheral nerve damage happens first). But others around us can notice small changes, if they look. If they don't, and we don't, soon a larger sin enters in, and begins to take over. Once inside, the results can be devastating (even more so with sin than with the loss of a limb)

Sorry, that wasn't so short after all...

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