Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The One About Vomiting

I couldn't remember the last time I had thrown up. I have no memories of doing so in our house in Sioux City, so it must have been before we lived there -- possibly a decade or so ago.

But my streak was broken Monday night, about five minutes before the pastor and his family arrived for dinner at our house. (Fabulous timing, o stomach of mine.) I suspect the leftover quiche I ate for Monday's lunch was the culprit. It had all the signs of food poisoning. Just a 24-hour thing.

Vomiting . . . what a phenomenon. I had forgotten how repulsive and miserable it is. And yet, what a blessing that our bodies have this automatic mechanism in place to protect us. I could almost hear my inner systems screaming, "TOXINS! TOXINS! Eradicate them immediately!! Stat!" (I don't know what "stat" means in this context, but we've all deduced from medical dramas that it implies urgency, and this situation was apparently urgent.)

Goodness, the violence our bodies inflict to purge us of poison! The thoroughness of the purging! EVERYTHING goes that may have entered with the offending party. No traces of the toxin may remain. Every other non-essential system in the body shuts down so more energy can be put toward the cleansing (which explains the exhaustion that my daughter was surprised at -- "why would food poisoning wipe you out so badly?").

So, in the moments of calm between violent purgings, I was able to experience some genuine appreciation for what my body was doing for me, painful and gross as it was in the experience.

And I was able to consider how beneficial it might be if we had systems in place to purge us of other toxins we encounter in life.

So, when a poisonous idea enters our minds, our mental systems would scream, "TOXINS! DANGER! Eradicate that immediately! Before it infects and spreads!" Followed by a violent purging, which would necessitate a day or two of gentle meditation to recover. I might even be willing to lose a bit of short-term memory in the process if it meant being protected from thoughts that would be ruinous to me in the long run.

And when a toxic person enters our lives, our systems would scream, "DANGER! POISON! Get them outa here! Go! Go! Go!" I'd hope I could re-establish the healthy relationships that might be lost in the violence of eradicating the toxin, but sad as it might be, that sacrifice would be worth the price.

Yes, such purgings would be painful and disruptive and costly in many ways. But oh, the costs they would save us in the long run! And how much more cautious would we be about the various poisons we encounter in life if we knew each of them would knock us out of commission for a couple days like that.

In case you're wondering, I'm feeling much better this morning, thank you. And my daughters did a fabulous job of greeting our guests and serving dinner Monday night. A good support team is critical in such a dangerous world as ours, with its perilous ideas, risky companions, and questionable quiches. I'm thankful for mine.

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