May 16, 2011
"When you see clouds coming in from the west, you say, 'Storm's coming'—and you're right. And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, 'This'll be a hot one'—bingo right again.
That’s Luke 12: 54-56 paraphrased somewhat in my own words…and to which I’d like to add…..
“When there appears to be a deluge of sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery, red eyes, all around you, you say ‘the allergy season is upon us’. And yippee, you‘d be right again, for ‘tis the allergy season indeed.
From around March to May each year thirty five million Americans battle the symptoms of seasonal allergy as trees, grass, flowers, and plants spew out pollen into the air in gazillion of barrels per day. Like a hunter hunting its prey, they spring on us as often as it happens in spring – one of my least favorite seasons of the year.
Yes! I’m one of those 35 million allergy sufferers. Unfortunately so I might add.
The silver lining in all of these - being the glass half-full soul that I am - is that relief for the coughing and sneezing and itching and watering is but a pharmacy store away. Eye drop, nasal spray, and oral medications – of different shades and tastes – are the mainstay of treatment for me. I take them QD and BID all season long for a relief – that too often is temporary – and comes with a hefty price, in form of a gaping hole in the wallet and myriad of side effects.
Of course the natural thing to do to avoid these untoward consequences is to occasionally steal a medication holiday – skipping a dose here and there for a period of time – hoping that the wallet will hold and the untoward effects abate. Well even that has its consequences; the symptoms come roaring back with a vengeance after a while.
This past weekend was payback time for me for daring to steal a holiday from the medications. The waves of symptoms knocked me flat on my back, leaving me congested and breathless, sucking in air through my gaping mouth.
It was in this knocked down state that I engaged a friend in a tete-a-tete; a benignly routine catching up on how both of our weekends went down. Well as you can imagine the conversation came around to my major big deal ordeal in the hands of mother nature. I explained to my friend that nemesis – that recoil of nature that even the most wary transgressor find impossible to escape – caught up with me for stealing a medication holiday.
After hearing my tale of woes my friend – good soul and all – replied with these words:
“….it was good you tried going off medications, but I’m not sure whether you did that by faith or you just stopped by yourself. I believe with God you can actually live through the season without medications….if your faith is strong enough; otherwise I suggest you stay with the medications….”
You see my friend meant well and said that in good faith. However those words stung like bee sting. They were like a dagger’s thrust into a wounded soul. They came across as overtly insensitive especially to a man who is already knocked down. And it raises a lot of questions in my mind about my Christian faith – which my friend and I both share in common of course.
Is my faith really that weak? Does that explain why I’m at the mercy of seasonal allergy? Are Christians supposed to be immune to the forces of nature? Is the strength of our faith measured by the presence or absence of disease?
As those questions begin to pour, what kept ringing at the back of mind was…..
”Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.” 1 Tim 5:23.
Often infirmities….pyknos aestheneia…..!
A weak faith? You are indeed in good company.