"Who, Me?"

MR. ALLMAN looked at me in puzzled surprise. He had been giving polite, nonchalant answers to my inquiries regarding his general health habits but my last question had gotten through and now he was captivated. . .

-Health educator at Simi Valley Adventist Hospital in Simi, California at the time this article was written

MR. ALLMAN looked at me in puzzled surprise. He had been giving polite, nonchalant answers to my inquiries regarding his general health habits but my last question had gotten through and now he was captivated.

"You wouldn't consider yourself a lawbreaker would you?" I had asked. And his "Who, me?" was both an eloquent denial and a wide open door.

"The laws of health are just as fixed as the law of gravity," I re minded him, realizing his type preferred the direct approach, "just how have you expected to function under the violations you've been guilty of? For instance what do you think your body uses to build and maintain its many systems?"

He grinned and scratched his head. "Would you believe it if I told you I guess I've never given it a thought?" he admitted. "I always sort of figured my stomach and heart and all the rest that are suddenly acting up were just there!"

"And that your health habits were in no way related to them?" "Well," he thought a moment. "I guess in college I missed out on a lot of science. Actually, I probably just figured / was immune. You know, healthy, never had a sick day in my life and all that. I sure didn't expect anything like this!" His eyes swept over the hospital room and the bed he was occupying.

My successful young executive's attitude actually sounded like a well-verbalized variation of an old, old theme. It starts off with a complete agreement that the laws of health are there and that they certainly do apply to everyone except Who, me? I'm different!

How well I know! During my days of training, school nursing, and teaching health classes I piously stressed the importance of practicing good health habits while deftly deflecting any focus on my own inconsistencies. Oh, true, occasionally warning lights blinked, but I wasn't worried. I was buoyantly healthy and came from long-lived stock. Anyhow, health was 90 per cent mind over matter, and hypochondriacs and I were on opposite ends of the pole. Healthwise, life stretched ahead under a cloudless sky.

My reckoning day was unexpected and very real. I remember gazing at the bottles of pills on my bedside table and thinking, "Why? Why me?" I certainly wasn't doing anything that wrong and mid-thirty was much too young to be falling apart. My eyes drifted to the bookcase and rested on the red volumes I had always used as my most authoritative sources in my health classes. I had seen them radically change many lives and I sincerely believed them to be inspired.

I took the volumes down and as I skimmed over the well-marked pages, certain statements seemed to leap out in bold print some of them over and over. I felt a growing sense of discomfort as I realized I was guilty of an incredibly long list of infractions of basic health principles. Could it be I was not so different, I pondered, recalling the remark of a friend. "You know," she had commented, "the only people who are really different are the ones who recognize that they probably aren't!" I had laughingly agreed at the time, but now suddenly I felt like Saul under the spotlight from outer space. "Who, me? Do these principles really apply to me?" And finally as I studied on, the conviction came through clear and strong, "Yes, you."

"Lord," I promised, "starting now and with Your help I'm going to make some changes. If it kills me," I added with illogical but grim determination. And for the first few weeks I thought it would.

Take for one example the area of appetite. I hadn't realized the dimensions of the struggle to change wrong habits of eating. Believe me, it hasn't been over stated. Over twenty years later--and over twenty pounds lighter--the battle still goes on. But the rewards in this and every other area that demanded changes are more than worth the effort.

Unless you are an identical twin, says an A.M.A. Journal in my files, the chances of your being exactly like anyone else ever born are something like one in several trillion. So we are individuals. But this does not change the fact that we were created under physical laws 1 and that perfect obedience to God's commandments calls for conformity to these laws. 2

We don't often think of its being as great a sin to break the laws of health as to break the Ten Commandments3 yet in all honesty we have to admit that they are simply an amplification of "Thou shalt not kill," and "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

Considering the vast amount of instruction from both science and inspiration we can hardly plead ignorance as an excuse for disobedience. The fact that ignorance is in itself a sin is a sobering thought! 4

Obedience was never meant to be a drudge of sacrifice and self-denial. And its impelling motive should not be fear. That's the devil's oldest trap. The most impelling motive for conforming my life-style to the laws of my being is the fact that I have made a total commitment and that care less or willful violation places me out of harmony with God's plan for me. 5

Who, me? Out of harmony when the most important thing in the world is to be in harmony?

Well, it's worth investigating.

 


 

REFERENCES

1. Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 415.

2. Counsels to Parents and Teachers, p. 295.

3. Counsels on Health, p. 40.

4. Ibid., pp. 21, 322.

5. Education, p. 197.


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-Health educator at Simi Valley Adventist Hospital in Simi, California at the time this article was written

June 1973

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