It starts with an odd sensation. The best way to describe it would be to say that there is a hair caught under the skin. It kind of tickles and kind of makes the skin feel itchy all at the same time. You can’t help yourself. You know that touching the spot is just going to make it more bothersome and scratching it will cause it to spread and inflame. The problem is, the natural instinct is to rub or scratch without thinking. Notice I said, “Without thinking.” That’s right, you may know not to touch or scratch but you don’t think, you just do. Rubbing and scratching makes it itchier and spread which in turn causes you to rub and scratch more, which in turn causes it to spread which in turn…
Sunday afternoon started this way.
At first I thought there was something on the inside of my jacket sleeve. I rubbed my arm then scratched. I didn’t really think about it until I took a look. There on my arm were little dots, slightly raised and bright red. “Okay,” I told myself, “just leave them alone and they will go away.” By the evening the dots had become welts and, even though I refrained from scratching for the most part, not only were the welts on my arms but now they were spreading all over my body.
This isn’t my first time at the rodeo.
This is a figure of speech. If I was really at a rodeo the welts could be caused by any number of allergens like hay or animals but I was still in my house. Not being my first time at the metaphoric rodeo I knew that this was not a reaction to an allergen, I’ve done all the tests and I am not allergic to anything, this was my immune system picking a fight with an imaginary foe.
Monday was worse.
I took both of my prescription meds on Sunday night and slept with two Epipen® injectors beside my bed rather than just the one. My hands were red and swollen and parts of my body were covered in raised bumps but I managed to eventually fall asleep. When I woke up Monday morning things were worse. One eye was almost swollen shut, the other wasn’t much better. My fingers were now too big to get my rings on, my feet and knees swollen and the bumps now covered almost all of my body.
I know the rules, remember it’s not my first rodeo.
Once the swelling was on my face I had to be prepared to go to the hospital because it was getting too close to the throat. Swelling in the throat can be fatal. My lips did feel funny off and on but for the first time since I started attending this rodeo twenty five years ago, the swelling never made it to my lips and mouth. By the end of Monday my eyes had improved, returning to their normal state of puffiness. On one hand, this episode may have finally provided the answer that has alluded many doctors concerning my continually puffy eyes. On the other hand, actually both my hands, the bottoms of my feet, my knees and just about anywhere else remained swollen and/or covered in welts.
It was time to go to the doctor.
Tuesday I made an appointment. Like in the past I am scheduled for allergy tests just in case something has changed but I assume that, like in the past, I will find out that I have no allergies but rather my immune system has decided to fight an imaginary foe leading to undesirable consequences.
Satan’s biggest tool, the imaginary foe.
Just like my body is locked in a battle in an attempt to defeat a foe that doesn’t really exist, the body of Christ is also locked in a battle in an attempt to defeat a foe that doesn’t really exist. We classify ourselves by the doctrines we follow and the denominations we attend. We battle to prove our brand of Christianity is right and anyone who disagrees doesn’t know the true God.
We may not go as far as to suggest other practices and understandings are not Christian but many will battle so hard to prove they have it all figured out that those who don’t do it their way, don’t embrace their take, appear to be on the outside looking in.
Other Christians are not your enemy but The Enemy would like you to believe they are. It is time we stopped fighting the imaginary foe made up by Satan, it’s leading to undesirable consequences.
* Some of you may have noticed that I have not been visiting your blog as much recently, this episode and some other health issues have limited me for the last three weeks – I hope to be back to normal soon.