Searching for the cure

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Alas, I have run afoul of the law. Or has the law run afoul of me? Time will tell.

It was an early morning run for cold medicine. Who knew our old reliable even contained the law-triggering ingredient removing it from its formerly convenient space on the local retailer's shelf?

Picking up the stiff laminated cardboard marker instead of the symptom relieving medication, Danny went off to the check out. Dutifully presenting the card, he was more than a little dismayed to learn that this over-the-counter product was only available during regular pharmacy hours, several hours removed from his early morning visit. So much for the convenience of 24 hour shopping.

Returning during the aforementioned authorized hours, the card was again presented and I watched in cold-befuddled wonder as the clerk searched the secured shelves of the pharmacy behind the service counter for the desired product.

Irked, I mused that the Legislature must have been duped into a grand scheme of loss prevention on behalf of Nebraska retailers. After all, your garden variety methamphetamine user is not known for high moral character. I suppose it is possible, but it is hard to imagine an addict thoughtfully checking the contents of his wallet and musing, "If it takes this many per batch and each package contains this many ... Drat. I'm $15 short. I'll have to wait until payday," then abandoning his plans for the day.

No, the restrictions are in place to deter the crime of producing methamphetamine -- an illegal and soul-destroying concoction of chemicals that has ruined more lives than any of us can imagine. No doubt the powers that be -- powerless in this situation -- wanted to do something, anything, to stem the loss of life, the tidal wave of destruction wrought by this vile curse.

I don't know how much it has helped. I don't know if it has helped at all. It has certainly made combatting the symptoms of the common cold more complicated, but, similarly to the pills just beyond convenient reach, it only barely treats the symptoms of a deadly condition.

What is at the core of this dread disease? What bleakness of spirit exists that such of boost of energy, of euphoria, of escape from realism has become necessary? And then, once tasted, this experience is desired so desperately that nothing -- not life, not health, not love, not money, not freedom -- is held back, all are laid on this altar of addiction.

King Solomon wrote, during what I call his "blue" period, (better known as Ecclesiastes) that all is meaningless, and under that grey cloud of pessimism he laid "everything under the sun."

But even in these desolate musings Solomon realized the heart of the matter, "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Any recovering addict or alcoholic can tell you what they found when they finally "hit bottom," be that the bottom of a bottle, of a snort or of a needle. God.

For there is none other who can reach into the depths of an addiction and rescue someone from that particularly personal hell.

All addictions are mere manifestations of the enemy's great desire to separate us from God, to supplant him, to fill with whatever satisfies -- even for a moment -- our deep soul hunger for God.

The "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" crowd, the self-help book writers, and far too many other professionals, paid to produce a cure, won't be happy to hear this and will likely deny it to their last breath, but that hunger, briefly satisfied by the temporarily satiated lusts of the flesh, will be satisfied only by God's own touch.

"In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered me by setting me free." Psalm 118:5 (NIV)

Things you won't see in heaven:

Cold remedies

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