Everyone has heard of the common cold. Well, I am suffering from the uncommon cold. It is extremely tiresome, much more so than the common cold. And I wish it would clear up and let me get on with my life. I feel crappy.
I got the early signs last Sunday: that familiar tickle in the throat, the runny nose. Now, I’m in the middle of a full-blown cold with all the symptoms: fatigue, no appetite, coughing, sinuses clogged, headaches, general lack of energy. You know the rest. Fortunately, my brain function appears only slightly less optimal than normal. Of course, it’s coming off a not particularly high base line.
With the advent of the cold and flu season, we’re reminded once again that there “is no cure for the common cold”. The “common cold” is a very broad term. There are in fact multiple types of viruses that cause the common cold and to make matters worse a lot of these viruses have the “ability” to change very rapidly. That means we can be infected with one strain of virus and as we get better our body builds an immunity to that particular strain but within six months our respiratory system is fighting a different virus.
But I’d like a cure. I’m old enough to remember The Beverly Hillbillies TV show in its first run. And I started to think about Granny having a cure for the common cold. The episode titled ‘The Common Cold’ first aired on December 29, 1965.
The show begins when Miss Jane arrives at the Clampett mansion and lets slip that her boss, Mr. Drysdale, is sick with a cold. Granny says that she can cure it with one spoonful of “Cold Cure.” There’s lots of Hillbilly humour and arguments with the “city doctor” and in the end they learn that Granny’s cure is the same as the city doctor’s, that is, it still takes a week to ten days to get better.
Granny: Take one spoonful of cold cure, eat sensible, get lots of rest, and drink plenty of water.
Jed: And in a week or ten days, your cold will be gone.
Miss Jane: A week or ten days.
Granny: That’s all it takes.
Jed: Ain’t failed in 45 years!
And so I’m resigned to believe that as frustrating and unpleasant as a temporary illness is I might as well approach it as a learning opportunity. As Christians, we should be well equipped to experience such times within the context of our faith.
Being sick is a reminder that we are mortal and that our time on earth is limited. It’s almost as if God taps us on the shoulder from time to time just to get our attention and says, “Hey! None of this is permanent. Seize the day!” Or as Peter puts it, “Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought you be?” (1 Peter 3:11)
Pope Francis is a recent homily said, “The reality that everything in this world is passing shouldn’t frighten us, but instead it should strengthen us to place our trust completely in Christ, recognising that what is truly important endures: the Lord and our neighbour.”
This is the gospel and it’s good news.
Brian Spencer, Minister