Monday, March 17, 2008

In Sickness and in Health

When a Caveman wants a Cavewoman, he hits her over the head and drags her back to his cave by her hair. God is not above acting like a brute caveman when situation warrants it, and if you notice in the Old Testament, Yahweh's patience with the Israelites is not always everlasting...sometimes he wipes people out because he is tired of their nonsense and wants to make an unmistakable point. When we have said "not now" one too many times, God takes the liberty of hitting us over the head with the flu.

I don't have the flu, but I have come down with something: cough, achiness, sore throat...all those symptoms on the Nyquil commercials. I want to crawl up and eat soup and watch movies and I have no energy...exactly the trick for keeping me out of the basement. Since I had really wanted to recommit myself during Holy Week to my original plan of staying out of the basement, and had been praying for the strength to resist the temptation to transgress the prohibitions I had made for myself (it seems humankind has a not-so-stellar track record of such mischevious disobedience; as Augustine said of his pear-stealing episode in Confessions, "Doing this pleased us all the more because it was forbidden."), maybe this was what needed to happen for me to make good on that desire.

I heard someone who had been diagnosed with cancer once say, "cancer was the best thing that happened to me because it slowed me down." It's as if, during those times of sickness, God has us right where he wants us: in bed, calling out for help, discovering all our idols have suddenly gone mute and left us for dead.


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