Thought For The Day from Fr Blackledge: “If we are ill, we do not need to be alone”

Sharing our emotions offers a way to find healing when faced with difficult news, said Father Philip Blackledge on BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought For The Day this morning, following news of King Charles’ cancer diagnosis.

“A diagnosis like that of King Charles can be a frightening reminder that we don’t live for ever and that our health is not guaranteed,” said Father Blackledge, Rector of Holy Trinity Melrose (pictured). “And it’s okay to be worried about that, to be frightened, or to be angry or sad, or any of the emotions that bubble up within us. But when we share all of that, we can find some healing even if we don’t find a cure.

“I know many people who are living with cancer right now, and it can be terrifying, but even if we are ill we do not need to be alone. We do not need to be our diagnosis and if we share our pain and our problems we often find that even if we have to live with illness, we can still live, and live well.”

The full broadcast can be heard here at the 1:22:13 mark, and the full text appears below.

“We will all know someone, or perhaps have been someone, who has had the diagnosis that King Charles has. In my job as a priest I have known many people who have lived with cancer, conquered cancer, and some who have died from it too.

 “When I was growing up, you never heard the word. The ‘C word’, it was often referred to as, as though cancer was a disease that must not be named, and that gave cancer almost as much power over people’s minds as it did over their bodies.

 “But much has changed since the days when King Charles’ grandfather George the sixth was struck with the disease. Not only has medical science made cancer a conquerable illness, good mental health practice has enabled people to talk about it, in a way which prevents it being a fearful secret.

 “And in recent years many celebrities have opened up about their own illnesses, both physical and mental, and it can help to know that you’re not the only person going through tough times.

 “In the Christian church there is a practice known as confession, which people often think is about saying how bad you are and horrible you’ve been. But actually the aim of confession is the opposite of that. It’s based on a very human truth which is if you are worried about something, if you feel bad about something, it’s much better to share it, to tell someone, don’t let it have the power over you that it has when you keep it hidden and secret.

 “A diagnosis like that of King Charles can be a frightening reminder that we don’t live for ever and that our health is not guaranteed. And it’s okay to be worried about that, to be frightened, or to be angry or sad, or any of the emotions that bubble up within us. But when we share all of that, we can find some healing even if we don’t find a cure.

 “I know many people who are living with cancer right now, and it can be terrifying, but even if we are ill we do not need to be alone. We do not need to be our diagnosis and if we share our pain and our problems we often find that even if we have to live with illness, we can still live, and live well.”

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