Curing and Healing

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August 2022

Curing and Healing

by Sally Nash

The Revd Dr Sally Nash is a Practice Tutor with Ridley Online, our flexible course designed for youth and children’s workers and volunteers.

Altar frontal in the chapel at Birmingham Women’s & Children’s NHS Foundation Trust , created by Tina Hamilton and a team of praying women

With my recently broken shoulder, I have been revisiting some of my thoughts and learning over the years. I am also continuing to read about disability to nuance my thinking about this.

My latest reading is Amy Kenny’s wonderfully titled book My body is not a prayer request. She explains the difference between curing and healing thus:

"Curing is a physical process; it’s individual, usually (fairly) rapid, and concentrates on eliminating disease. Healing is a sociocultural process. It focuses on restoring interpersonal, social and spiritual dimensions. It’s lengthy and ongoing because it’s a process of becoming whole." (p. 9).

What I discovered this week at the physio’s is that my cure will not be quick, I can expect twinges for up to two years! I wonder if the definition of curing needs tweaking as sometimes there is no cure for some of our diseases, just some amelioration of symptoms, and healing is the only possibility. Other times you think there should be a cure but the lack of a clear diagnosis means treatment is not possible or is experimental. What Amy talks about is the presumptuousness and inappropriateness of those who think she wants or needs a cure and who feel free to make all sorts of assumptions and presumptions about her and her theology.

"Curing is a physical process; healing is a sociocultural process."

While I am hoping that my shoulder is cured, it will largely happen because of the amazing power of my body to mend itself in this particular instance, the regenerative capacity of our bodies is amazing although I am of the age where I more often think of the degenerative elements of it. However, whatever happens with my shoulder, I am experiencing healing, becoming more whole as I reflect on the different lessons I have been learning.

The picture above is one of the altar frontals made by praying women for the chapel at my husband Paul’s work; it evokes hope in me each time I see it.

The Revd Dr Sally Nash
“Curing and Healing” was first published on Sally & Paul’s blog which you can find at: My body is not a prayer request, by Amy Kenny, is published by Brazos Press (Grand Rapids, 2022).