It’s allergy season for me. About this time every year, when the trees start waking up, my allergies kick in big-time. My eyes itch, my nose runs, I wheeze and sneeze, and I feel gross. My eyes get bloodshot, and I look a little stoned. To make it worse, taking antihistamines make me groggy – even the ones that claim they don’t. (Insert Flonase commercial here.) Thankfully, my allergies are seasonal, and only last a short time – until those specific allergens clear out of the air.
Do you know how allergies work? We tend to think of allergies as sign of our bodies being weak, or failing us. In reality, the opposite is true. Allergies happen when our immune systems overreact to something, whether it be pollen, pet dander, or other assorted other allergens. Our immune systems perceive those things as invaders, and prepare to fight back. How does your body get allergens out of your nose? It sneezes, or makes it run. Same with your lungs – your body fights these invaders by making you cough them out.
It is a good thing that our bodies are equipped to fight back, and they usually serve us well. The problem is that in the case of allergies, sometimes our bodies overreact – they fight too hard against minor irritants that aren’t really that threatening. Our bodies are hypersensitive.
That’s why we call in the antihistamines to calm things down. Antihistamines don’t kill the pollen, or even fight against it. The role of medicines like Benadryl or Claritin is to tell our immune systems to just relax a little bit, and stop reacting so aggressively against minor irritants.
Sometimes people go through long desensitization programs to teach their bodies to stop overreacting. When I was a teenager growing up in Utah, I had one of those tests where they scratch your back and put a test drop on the scratched skin to gauge your sensitivity to different allergens. I was allergic to 40 out of the 42 plants they tested me for. With that diagnosis, they put me on a year-long program of weekly injections to desensitize my system to those allergens. One month after I completed my last injection, my family moved to Arizona – with an entirely new set of allergens.
Whether it be by desensitization or by antihistamines, the goal is to get our immune systems to stop being hypersensitive to the things that are irritating.
That is all good and well for our noses. But what happens when pollen isn’t what is bothering us? What happens when those irritants that make us miserable are other people. Yes, people. Whether they live in our homes and do stupid things that drive us crazy, or we encounter them on a daily basis at school or work, certain people are just plain irritating and can make us miserable. Ever been on Facebook, or watched the news? It doesn’t take long to find someone spouting some nonsense that is irritating.
Just as allergies come and go, there are days when I feel like I am surrounded by irritating people. Other days, not so much, but I would be lying if I said it never happened. Just this past week I had some minor irritants flare up and cause me to overreact. That hypersensitivity can last for a moment, for a day, or for a lifetime.
Could there exist a prescription that we could get that would make these people stop being so dadgum irritating? Nope. But wouldn’t it be sweet to find something that is specifically designed to help us not be so hypersensitive to those irritants?
I found it.
Nestled snugly in the Book of Mormon, I found God’s Antihistamine. I even bolded and italicized it for you, because I am helpful like that.
“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (Moroni 7:45)
Yes, charity is God’s Antihistamine.
Having charity in our hearts helps us to keep from being irritated by those around us – even when they are being irritating. If we have charity we will not be provoked as easily, and we will put up with it longer than we normally would, or could, without it.
As it is with allergens, the people around us do not necessarily change, but the way we respond to them changes. Our hyper-reactions can actually be suppressed.
Would you like a prescription for additional charity? Thanks to Moroni, I found how to get one of those, too.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren (sisters too!), pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.” (Moroni 7:48)
Apparently, we need to ask the Physician.
So, next time someone is just driving us absolutely crazy, remember that it is voluntary – at least on our part.
Note: To those astute readers who noticed, I applaud you. I did, in fact, use this exact same set of scriptures recently – with an entirely different application – in the post “Play-by-Play Commentary.” Isn’t the Book of Mormon awesome?
That was great. I love the analogy. This is one antihistamine that doesn’t make you drowsy!
I just started working with a youth to help him and to earn some extra money for our family. He is a good kid, but I knew going into it that he has some quirks that can really irritate me. I’ve had to approach each session prayerfully so that my ‘natural man’ doesn’t take over. So far (4 sessions), so good. The Lord has really blessed us to have a positive experience together, but I know I can’t get lazy about it or my irritation will come flooding back. I know God loves this young man, and I’m glad the Lord is so patient with me! Great insight; thanks for sharing what I needed to hear. 🙂
As a parent of a child that can be irritating THANK YOU! We know our kid can be irritating, we’re raising them and are acutely aware of their irritatingness. We love them anyway. We also work on overcoming those irritating behaviors, etc for years with them. Yet, they persist anyway. Our hearts shatter into a million pieces when they’re hurt by peers and adults at church. We keep making them go back. We pray vigorously for the Lord to send someone, anyone, willing to show them kindness and compassion outside of mom and dad. YOU are the answer to a pray. He’s not my quirky kid, but thank you for being willing to put so much prayer and effort into creating a positive experience for him. I can only pray, and hope, my own quirky kid will have such a gift in his life as he grows older.
I came across a timely quote a little while ago – which I put aside to file when I got time (and now can’t find!) – which covers this topic perfectly. It said, in effect, that God puts people in our way who irritate us to teach us charity, so that we’ll know that when people no longer irritate us as much we are learning that most important lesson. Sorry I can’t give credit to the person who wrote this.
I guess we can choose not to be irritated, just as we can choose not to be offended. Just check your ‘list’ (of things you are going to allow to irritate you) and I’m sure you’ll find that particular behaviour/situation isn’t on it!
Sometimes I find you very irritating. It’s a good thing I pray for that charity like no otha!!
Sorry, I just had to ;). Now you might want to start praying ;p
But seriously. Thanks for the great read. Each and every time.
Stay home. For me, I think the answer is often just to stay home. Oh, and probably don’t post obnoxious argumentative diatribes on other people’s blogs.
No way. Just because one person finds you irritating doesn’t mean you should cease all. To another you might be just the light that they were praying for! Don’t worry about being irritating, just worry about pleasing God. Fill yourself with Charity…and you’ll never fail 🙂
That’s a good analogy. I suffer from both kinds of irritants … the people kind not near so much now that I don’t work with government contracts. It would be nice if we had a spray bottle full of scriptures that we could just spray in the room when we need to combat irritants … then everyone could calm down together and think of how much could be accomplished!
Love it. We unfortunately have a rampant allergy epidemic in our ward (recent boundary changes). I’ve been praying to know what I personally can do to be part of the solution. Charity is a great start!
As someone who ha a personality that is often fairly irritating, thank you for choosing to be charitable. We need it.
That brings up another interesting topic – What should we do to be less irritating to others?
Almost hilarious that this is your post today. This morning I was imagining what I would do if a priesthood leader criticized me – would I be offended or not? I decided of course I would choose not to be offended because that is what charity is all about – exactly what you are talking about. Then not an hour later, I was actually offended by how my husband picked out our seats in sacrament meeting – huffing and puffing and rolling my eyes and everything. But then as the sacrament hymn started, the Spirit pointed out to me what I had done, and I was humbled. Thank you for reinforcing this point for me. Those that I seem offended by most are those who I am supposed to love the most, and I have a long way to go.
Thanks you for this as I needed some headache relief this past week. I even had a thought that all of the answers are in the Book of Mormon, and so I could look there, along with prayer, for relief! Now do you spell Relief…? 🙂
That was supposed to read: How do you spell Relief?…The Book of Mormon!
Because we all have those days when everybody else looks like a pinata. Thank you!
Ah allergies! I spent all my youth with a handkerchief or tissue in my pocket. Antihistamines did help, but put me to sleep as soon as I sat down. Tree pollen, grass, pet dander, alfalfa and mold are bad for me. But foods were terrible asthma triggers. I went a whole year without tomatoes, berries, melons, fruits, and corn. Ultimately I found that my worst allergies were whole wheat, oatmeal and chocolate. When I cut those out of my diet, I could eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as I wanted. (Benedryl before bed helps clear the histamines from the system)
I love your post. Charity is the answer to those personal irritants in our lives. Your insights are awesome.
Thank you for the thoughts to ponder today.
I hope this post comes to mind when I find myself in this situation. It happens more than I care to admit.
Just want you to know you wrote this for me. I teach Primary and have some challenging students. Was praying for help and then saw this post. Thanks for the answer!
Very timely for me. Thanks !
Simply wonderful! I truly needed this today. Thanks. 🙂