These cold winter days are often the cause of effervescent and therapeutic cups of Beecham's to be sipped on duvets throughout Her Majesty's Kingdom and any number of lesser products upon our own shores. A close relative of mine was recently warding off a seasonal malady through similar means and reminiscing on the benefits of such potions available in his time of need in the castle of Capernwray in Lancaster, England. Forays into local concoctions of similar claims were not coming back completely void and his spirits were being lifted by an alternative brew. The very thought of such soothing medicament made me want to explore their possible benefits to me even in my current state of physical health. Upon recognizing this feeling, a danger* was also immediately discovered. A surreptitious thought was weaseling into the hedgerows of my mind. And here it is: if medicine makes one feel better when ailing then should it not be even the more advantageously partaken for the healthy of countenance?
Let me pause here before answering that question with a resounding "No!" to make a small confession of a possible exorbitant interest of delving into such a vein of discourse. It is a topic that runs somewhat to my heart. You see, I am a student of medicine. I have no defense for such a course of study other than to say that the tracking down of ill-health is much more straight-forward than the tracking down of health. Or rather, the study of medicine is much easier to pin down then the study of health.
Ah, here we find ourselves back to that recent conversation with my close relative. The question above was actually posed in the course of our conversation with a passing mention of the ramifications it would have in the political field to allow certain previously restricted drugs to be used freely among the populace. Now in this regard, I should be against the recreational use of Drugs (Marijuana, etc.) if for no other reason than that they deny the accepted level of "health." The use of these drugs indicates that health is not quite so fulfilling as it needs to be. And so, we, the relative and I, quickly dismissed this dangerous line of reasoning because of the above resounding "No!", but now that I sit here looking out the window on the low winter sky maybe the users of said drugs are on to something.
Maybe…Maybe…could there be an ailment without a fever of the head or a congestion of the chest?
Our health may not be quite so healthy as I first thought. I would not even have to stop at the physiological fact that we are dying and would be dead unless thousands of our cells did not die each day in the protection of their…something, leader, I suppose...without asking questions or demanding reward for their sacrifice. However, even with their service, death will come, though sometimes slowly, without fail. This we know from history is a losing battle. And, even during these days of "life" is the slow death of relationships, brokenness of trust, the confusion of thoughts, the fear of rejection, the hounding of guilt, and the list goes on and on. There does seem to be some corroboration of the drug users claim that there is something wrong with the prevailing definition of "health." So, thence comes the search of medicine.
But let us not stop with this failure to find health. For if we are all sick we simply all need to find the right doctor.
And, what is this that we find when we begin the search across the breadth and width of the world's hospital halls and corridors? ...Nothing but death and loss.
Except, Except, we do find, if we will only look to a rather unexpected corner of this world, a glimmer of hope. There is no name on a door or credentials on a wall, only a rather rough notice of identity above his head as he hangs bleeding and suffocating to death on some scaffolding. He is the only person from whom all ailments fled and with whom death did not have the final word. How could it when He is The Word?
I have yet to get my drug license and Beecham's is not yet available in the States, but if you are looking for a physician to give life to your faltering bones which no medicine will raise once bare beneath the sod, may I point you to the one upon whom the blow of death was rebuffed and life was brought to light!
Under a lamp's warm glow
Roeland Park, KS
*The danger is not in the use of medicine to gain health, but rather the assumption we are ever healthy.
N.B. I forgot to answer that question with a resounding "No!".
An Alchemist or Apothecary in His Laboratory
Egbert van Heemskerck the elder
Oil on Canvas