Thursday, May 26, 2011

Healing, HeLa and Heaven

"And that's not all. You will have complete and free access to God's kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.”  Matthew 16:19 (The Message)
Rebecca Skloot, the author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks provides us with a long and wonderful story of healing that confronts the technology of cellular biology and the immortal  “HeLa” cell line.   This story identifies some surprising invisible patient, her family, a daughter who becomes a mother to the author and a researcher.
What I learned is that relationships and art are key ingredients to healing.  Chistoph Lengauer’s beautiful photo of the HeLa cells that previously have only been sources of pain; becomes a wonderful focus of communication and respect.   For scientists the art of the science maybe the best way to communicate when words and jargon only confuse and frustrate.  But art at its best must find meaning in the relationships with the communicants.  
By the art of storytelling, Rebecca Skloot, digs deep into the fractured relationships with a pilgrim’s persistence.   What is critical is that she is part of the healing story without diminishing the integrity of the others.   She becomes loved and through that love is able to hear and learn some remarkable truths.  
We are left with many unanswered questions at the end of this book.  I think the complicated questions of property and product will best be addressed by using the lessons previously learned.   We will need guidance and wisdom that may come from the patients and the community we serve; not just the voices of those who are the experts.

So what about the “heaven” part?...maybe that reality is when “the good” persists or as the title suggests is “immortal”.   We certainly know that when “the bad” persists it is “hell”.   So we can rejoice in the title, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” as a “the good” that persists, a little bit of heaven here on earth.   Thanks for the life of Henrietta Lacks and the good that persists in her ongoing contribution to healing.


For more information:

No comments:

Post a Comment