Sickness doesn't have the last word

It's almost routine. After the spring reports about allergies and the summer warnings about the dangers of sun exposure, here comes the late-fall discussion about flu season. This year there has been much coverage of the difficulties encountered in the United States in getting enough vaccine soon enough. It's almost as if one should mark the calendar and count on the certainty of seasonal disease. Is there something wrong with this picture? We think so.

No one needs to live in the constant expectation of sickness; yet, this is often what people have come to believe is natural and normal. The depiction of disease as inescapable and inevitable shows up in public discourse, spurred on by reports in the news, and advertisements for pharmaceuticals. These messages, delivered day after day, imply that one should spend more time planning for sickness than for healthy, normal activities. They encourage a passive acceptance that getting sick is not so much a matter of "if" as it is of "when."

Good thing those messages aren't the final word. Just as with any other advertisement — and that's what they really are, even when they aren't billed as such — no one needs to accept the disease or buy the product. It is possible to remain free of communicable diseases. And over the 125-plus years since Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was written by Mary Baker Eddy, countless people have been able to prove that prayer can both prevent and eliminate disease.

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December 6, 2004

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