Some poisons have antidotes. Poisonous snake bites can be cured with anti-venom. The anti-venom does not act as shield of force field. Nay, the life threatening risk and excruciating pain must be endured, fought and overcome. The anti-venom only gives you a fighting chance. It is not a perfect cure or a magic, get-out-of-jail-free card. Life is fraught with poisons and toxins. There is the arrow dipped in curare, an uber powerful paralytic; eventually the poison dart’s chemical paralyzes the diaphragm and you suffocate to death in a frozen state, acutely aware and conscious. You face death wide eyed and lucid. There is the mind numbing, reality-altering consequence of an overdose of otherwise safe chemicals, drugs that in minute doses can be beneficial. Everything can be dangerous and you must remain alert and careful so as not to get poisoned. Sometimes in error and sometimes in a Kevorkian effort, we get drugged by people we think have our backs. It is trickery and deception. They walk to you in your suffering and speak soothingly, offer their comfort, displaying their regard. And they are lying through their teeth, smiling as they slowly push a megadose of morphine into your IV drip. Your slip off into sleep and stop breathing without ever knowing death is coming. Or they are selfish, patting your hand and commiserating with your suffering and then they steal your pain meds, leaving you to writhe in agony. Such “assistance” one can and should live with out. It means to be careful, vigilant and even suspicious. When you have been betrayed or attacked from within your own ranks, you must question the wagons in your convoy. Is it safer to be the lone Pale Rider? Maybe. It is also good to collect your own arsenal of poison arrows and toxic weapons. What is the rule in chemistry? Like dissolves like.
I listened to an NPR story this morning about Kandahar. The NPR journalist David Gilkey in embedded with the Bravo company from the 101st Airborne division ….on THE FRONT LINE. A unit in the division had just come through a routine patrol in a neighboring village…a village we are trying to assist and protect….it turned into a 4 hour battle. The company got pinned down by insurgents hidden in the village (maybe even the same villagers we think want our help?). Air support was called in. The audio was very disturbing and while the journalist sounded professional and alert, there was that thread of fear in his voice. He stands in a place where his life is in grave danger. I will pray for all the soldiers that he is their reporting on and I give thanks he sends back this news, lest we forget who is in harms way.
Metaphorically, sometimes the combat zone is on your front driveway and the insurgent is walking around you, close enough to kill or maim. It is necessary to remain ever ready and on alert. Trust no one. Be prepared and do what is necessary to survive. We want everyone to come home alive.