the cure that made me sick
I was born into a beautiful hospital surrounded by people who cared about me. In this hospital, the belief is that all children in the world are born with a deadly disease. I was told that there was only one place in the world where one could find the cure to this disease, and that I was chosen by God to come to this one special place. I felt blessed, and as I peered down into the outside world through my hospital bedroom window, I felt compassion for the people below. Those without the hospital were lost, and I wanted them to feel the safety and security that I felt within.
The dark and somewhat hidden reality though was that despite the access we had to this miraculous cure, the disease had me, my family and many others firmly in it's grip. The doctors worked long and hard to tend to our needs and make suggestions as to why our medicine was not working as it should. I paid close attention to their words, because not only did I trust them, but I was fiercely determined to eradicate this evil disease.
Naturally I became very diligent in taking my medicine exactly as prescribed; every morning at 6:30 am, every evening at 6:30 pm and on an empty stomach. I rarely missed and never did I give into the allure of the delicious meal awaiting me at my bedside. It didn't take me long to notice that many did not follow the doctor's orders as seriously as me. Some took their pill at 6:40 instead of 6:30. Others skipped days, even consecutive days, and worst of all many would give into their hunger and fail to take their pill on an empty stomach. If we gave into our hunger prematurely, we were required to tell the nurse to set up a time for the doctor to see us. The doctor would then do a very detailed head to toe assessment and prescribe the appropriate procedure or medicine to counteract our mistake. It was an uncomfortably shameful process to go through and so many chose to not see the doctor and instead lived with a heaping mound of guilt which they masked beneath an overzealous smile.
Every 6 months, the CEO of the hospital would speak over the intercom to us. He would update us on the latest research and offer new suggestions of things we could do to ensure that our bodies would most effectively respond to our medicine. Often times he would quote the founder of our hospital, the man who first discovered our miracle cure and who organized a safe place for it to be distributed. We honored, revered and placed our trust in these men because we believed that God had chosen them to lead mankind out of this hideous disease. Oft times, when they spoke, I wept. I wept because of the overwhelming sense of hope that they brought to me. I would see that we were not yet defeated by the disease and that there was more that we could do. We could do better! There was more that I could do. I could do better!
In our hospital there was also a belief that if we took our prescription diligently enough, not only would we have a happier existence in mortality, but that one day we would die and go to a world that was free of pain. One day while I was in a lot of pain, my doctor suggested that I cope with the pain by focussing on this future world. So, this is what I did. I tried to learn everything I could about this pain free world. Full of curiosity, I began to ask my doctors questions that I had never asked before. Somewhat shocked, my questions made the doctors defensive and angry. Discouraged, I turned to my family. They too got defensive and I quickly learned that this was a puzzle that I was going to have to piece together alone, but I was up for the challenge. No one spoke more about our future world than did our hospital's founder, so I went straight to his words. They were hidden up in the basement of the hospital and for a long time only the CEO and his trusted associates had a key. I don't think they were happy about it, but someone had managed to make copies of the key and I was fortunate enough to stumble upon one. I had been warned about the basement. I was told that many had gone down there only to disappear and never return. I knew this was a possibility for me, but I also knew that this was the only place where the records were found, and so after sincere prayer and feeling God's stamp of approval, I unlocked the door and began my descent into the unknown.
At first I dabbled, but with every new piece of information my curiosity heightened and before long I was devouring the pages. Like a starving child who had never been allowed to eat bread, I was for the first time in my life, thinking without bounds and for myself. And although I knew that I was eating the forbidden bread, something deep within was wise and rebellious enough to keep swallowing until slowly I became aware of a hunger pain that was beginning to disappear.
It took me a good while to admit it, but everything I read was screaming malpractice. The founder of the hospital, who in my mind was an altruistic hero, slowly morphed into a self serving villain and it became very clear to me that this heaven sent miracle medicine was actually a man made poison. Nothing solidified this fact more than when I stopped taking the medicine and my health immediately began to improve.
My heart turned to my family and friends, but their ears and hearts were closed, so out of respect for them and out of respect for myself, I walked away. Terrified, I left the only place I ever knew and walked with my three little children into the foreign world, with no place to go. As I walked away, fighting to not let my children sense my fear, I looked back at my hospital and saw my friends and family looking through the windows. Many looked confused, and a few looked indifferent. There were those who scurried their children away from the window and those who quickly looked away when I caught their eye. Some screamed their voice of warning at us, and others were not watching but rather fixed their tearful gaze towards the heavens.
Then it started to snow. I had never experienced snow before, but I had been told many times about the danger of winter and how many had died in it's frigid grip. Although tempted to pretend I was not cold, lest any one looking through the hospital windows feel satisfaction in my suffering, I took the children under a tree and we huddled close to say warm. A lady walked by and could not help but have compassion on us so she led us to her home to find warmth. As we followed her, I couldn't help but notice the freshness of the winter air, the soft white blankets forming on the trees and the birds cheerfully chirping and flying freely in the sky. It was beautiful and deep down I knew everything was going to be ok.
The truth is that I was not born with a disease. I was given one; and although not a day passes by that I don't think of my friends and family in the hospital, I will never go back.
The price for freedom has been very high, but I got what I paid for and I am free.