Self-diagnosis
March 1 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Self-diagnosis | Friday, March 1, 2002

Friday, March 1, 2002

Self-diagnosis

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

I read the name in a guidebook to the Florida Keys before I ever saw the tombstone. The name is "B.P. Roberts." I don't know if B.P. Roberts was a man or a woman, but he - or she - must have had difficulty convincing others that an oft-mentioned ailment was real.

A granite marker embedded in the wall of the family mausoleum in the Key West City Cemetery includes the inscription, "I told you I was sick."

At least Roberts had a chance to get in the last word. Another marker in the same cemetery, apparently designed by a widow more aggrieved than grieving, is inscribed, "At least I know where he's sleeping tonight."

It is always possible that Roberts was a hypochondriac who complained so much that people stopped listening. It is also possible that others refused to give adequate attention to what Roberts recognized as a real problem.

The grave-marker suggests that self-diagnosis is crucial - at least to the point of recognizing when something is amiss. When our body is not hitting on all cylinders, when our relationships go awry, when our church or denominational life is impaired, we can pretend nothing is wrong, or we can recognize the illness and do something about it.

Sometimes that means calling in a specialist or submitting to a surgeon's knife. Sometimes it means counseling, which some folks find even more frightening. Sometimes it involves a willingness to talk heart to heart and seek common cause.

The medicine we need rarely comes without discomfort, but a bitter pill is better than a biting epitaph.

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3/1/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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