A major item on people’s prayer list will most likely have something to do with health. I don’t know any person who doesn’t wish to be in good health, and I don’t know any person suffering from ill health who doesn’t wish to be cured. I met a few who could not be cured and wanted to die.
I pray for healing but have received a lot of healing from the medical profession. Some pray for God to guide the Doctor’s hands. The doctors don’t mind. It makes sense to me. In my life I had surgeries, almost always been on medications and hardly ever can remember a long period of steady good health. That was until I discovered the Crowsnest Pass. I don’t know if it is the place itself or the new way I began to think but something happened.
I was sitting in the barber's chair the other day letting my beard be snipped into shape, one hair at the time. The old barber who started his business not much later than when I was born was rushing around. He is, I think close to ninety years old, and he runs across the floor to get hot shaving cream. He is there at seven in the morning and hardly misses a day at work. His hands are steady, and his scissors, which he sharpens by hand, are always honed to perfection. He is charging less than what I used to pay thirty years ago, and there is always a group of clients, old and young waiting. We were talking about his friend who is about the same age as he is and is still running a business.
I remember moving to the Pass some years ago. I was recovering from a heart attack, at times walking with a cane, and shortly after had five more surgeries. Something happened which I have a hard time describing. There was a shift in my thinking. The specialists were forever increasing my medications, and it stopped. Without any effort, I lost weight, began to feel better and above all entered for the first time in my life a long period without the “hardest illness to cure,” the common cold. The cardiologist who a short time before said that half of my heart is dead and the other half is barely functioning, said that at the rate I am going I might outlive him. He is much younger.
I did change how I pray. I no longer tell God what I wish and expect miracles. I changed how I view God altogether. Now I learned how to trust, the universe and above all whoever it is who is creating it. By doing this, I lost the fear of getting worst and without any other changes started feeling better. The tests show that I need to be careful, so I am, but I feel so much better. It is all in good hands, and I don’t have to worry. I talk to the old people and find that they are the same. They have learned that they can’t know everything and that in life you must be able to trust blind faith and they do.
When I was a child, physicians were making house calls with a black bag, often going to visit patients on foot. Here in the west doctors had to use a horse and buggy or a sleigh. They were good hardy people setting bones, fixing wounds and often assisting with difficult births. By the time I was a teenager the medical profession had morphed into almost miracle workers. If a person from the nineteen fifties would have been in a coma and woke up in 2018, he or she would be fully convinced that this is a planet of aliens who can produce miracles on demand.
I drive to the post office waving at a friend whom I know is over eighty riding a bicycle waving back, and I wonder. Is it the technological advancements or does this place in the mountains have some unusual qualities which have not yet been investigated. I seen some very old people die but they often told me that they were surprised at how long they lived. More than a few could have gone on living but told me that they were tired of life and missed some other people who passed on. Are they dying from natural causes or do they have a choice?
I am aware of people who quit their regular activities because they were convinced that they are too old to carry on with what they used to do. It seems to me that they could have gone on but at some point, they became convinced that they are expected to lay down and wait to pass on. Those who don’t give up see a doctor, say a prayer and keep on living. It is clear to me that people here in the mountains have some choices since I am talking with them.
What I see is a new demographic developing. Young people going to the urban centers to participate in a new fast-changing world and retired people going the other way, back to the country. A combination of new science and a new way of thinking is enabling the old people to stay alive and be active in ways they would have never imagined before. They learned that the number of birthdays they had is no indication of shutting down. Their long-term investments in pension funds are a big factor in our economy.
Old people are now an important part of the economy, and more than a few refuse to plan for impending death, actively participating in society. New forms of co-operation between old and young are developing, and retired people are finding ways to be useful and share the knowledge that brought us to this point in the first place. New discoveries both in spirituality and science are changing the human race.