Monday, October 29, 2007

The tastes of battle

All three of us are now battling some form of the cold that invaded our lives last week. That’s right, an entire household, paralyzed by rampant, mutant germs that have infiltrated every corner and cranny, spreading their badness. And the ongoing illness has reminded me of something I recall each time I battle a malady: Sickness has a taste.

There’s the foul, sour taste of unwashed mouth, of tongue that’s welcomed only tea and chicken noodle soup for days on end with nary a sighting of a toothbrush. And there’s the dry, bile-tinged taste of a ravaged mouth that’s been trying very hard to keep stuff from coming up into it, stuff that has no right traveling upward instead of down and out. The taste I’m recalling now (because I’ve been cruelly reminded) is the taste of sore throat and chest ailment—a strangely metallic flavor. Where is that coming from? Metal? Huh? But it’s true. The minute something goes awry in my chest and lungs, that’s the taste in my mouth.

Makes you wonder what’s going on down there, in the depths of your amazing body, as it fights this fight against evil germs. Can you picture the white blood cells at a rally, pepping each other up before they take arms against the germ? It’s crazy, really, when you think about it—and especially crazy because our bodies are always doing some kind of battle, even when we’re healthy. While we’re totally clueless, feeling fine, going about our business and even neglecting ourselves as so many of us do, all the components of our intricate and awesome bodies are still working to keep a good balance: making sure there are just enough germs to keep the defenses in good shape, being certain that the bacteria we need are in good supply but aren’t getting too cocky… I’m no doctor or scientist, but I’m still rendered speechless when I ponder all the wonderful things going on inside me at any given time. Even looking at the monitor as I type this, thinking about the image going into my pupil, being reflected somewhere on the back of my eyeball, images being sent to my brain via millions of tiny nerves… It could really freak me out if I dwell on it for very long.

So, I’m hopeful that we’ll all beat the current bug. It can’t last forever; even at this moment, forces are being assembled to kick its bum out of my and my family’s bodies for good. And then they’ll regroup, those marvelous forces, and prepare to do battle again when the next enemy enters the scene via an eye or nostril.

Our pastor said something that stayed with me yesterday: he said that, after pondering the Earth and everything in it, that he “didn’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” He’s so right. If I think about even my own eyes, ears, hands, body in general, my origins inside a womb, for Heaven’s sake!—all I can see is an amazing designer behind every detail.

Looking forward to healthier days—hopefully soon.

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