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?