My body was following the straight lines of city sidewalks this evening with my dog Roscoe, but my mind was meandering here and there as is its wont.
I was thinking about hospitals. My wife is incarcerated in one of these rather mad institutions, but the keepers have decided to attempt a move to another system where she can get specialized care.
This is beside the point however. The hospital she is in is a part of an atheist healthcare system, while the other is Catholic Christian. This division occurred to me on a particularly straight section of sidewalk and a particularly meandering sweep of my mind. I asked myself why I classified the Juravinski hospital and the Hamilton Health Sciences system of hospitals as atheist. I answered myself this way: If one truly believes in God or a god or any transcendent entity or force (say the Dao, for example), then life must be structured around this fundamental, overarching reality. It would be like rocket scientists ignoring gravity to do otherwise. I can imagine such a scientist. I can't see gravity! Therefore I will build this rocket and just pick it up and toss it up in the sky... and off it will go! Hmmmm. Well, Hamilton Health Sciences does its very best to apply the dictates and discoveries of modern medical science without reference to God. The system allows for God for patients - preachers and priests do stalk its corridors, but this belief is not imprinted in the DNA of the system.
St. Joseph's Healthcare System is somewhat different. It is a Catholic hospital system founded by an order of nuns in the 19th century. Looking at patients as a whole, in a holistic sense, used to be central to their mission. I am not sure this is the case anymore. The nuns no longer dominate or run the place. I hope that some vestige of this essential view of healing remains, lying in littered places in corners, picked up on the shoes of busy linear thinking medical scientists as they pass busily and importantly by. I suppose that is the difference between a hospital system that does not, in its heart, believe God exists and one founded on that belief. One regards healing as an exercise in repair, a mechanical act. The other regards healing as, well, as healing the whole person, not 'repair' of a mechanistic bodily system, but of a restoration of physical and emotional and mental balance. In short, healing.
Anyway, that is where my mind wandered as I walked in straight lines tonight.