I absolutely could not believe it! Here we were, new to Tennessee and invited to our first social event. The house was beautiful, full of our newly made friends – and here I was sneezing uncontrollably…eyes watering…and breathing troubled. We quickly finished the meal, made our apologies and left. The culprit: a very large hairy dog.
Two weeks later, a co-worker invited me to a jewelry show at her home. I was there less than an hour and guess what? Yes - same experience - different culprit. This time: a beautiful Persian cat.
Now, while living in Ohio I had experienced seasonal allergies; but never to this magnitude. And, my exposure to animals was limited so I had never been affected like this. But, after these two experiences, I suddenly felt like a prisoner in my new town. I was embarrassed and miserable. Worse yet, I started to also show signs of outdoor hay-fever. I was afraid to accept any more social invitations for fear that I would have an unfavorable allergic reaction.
It was at that point that I had to find a solution. I really wanted to socialize with both of these families, however, in my current condition, I knew that was impossible. Was I always going to be a prisoner to these allergies?
During previous allergy seasons, I remembered seeing many pharmaceutical advertisements. At one point years ago, I even tried some. As is often the case, the variety of cures they offer only mask symptoms and I experienced many unwanted side-effects that were more miserable than the allergic reaction itself!
About 20 years before this experience with allergies, I had taken up a spiritual approach to my healthcare and found it quite effective. So, it seemed natural for me to pray about this very unnatural physical condition.
In Mary Baker Eddy’s primary work, I read, “It is profane to fancy that the perfume of clover and the breath of new-mown hay can cause glandular inflammation, sneezing, and nasal pangs.” Wow! There it was! How could the Divine create the beauty of the universe - including animals - capable of making me miserable? He could not.
I am not alone in turning to prayer to alleviate suffering of all kinds, including allergies. A spiritual perspective on the causes & healing of allergies is being studied on many levels. Spirituality & Health reported on several new studies that validate the notion that when we live closer to nature (i.e. with dogs), it makes us more allergy-free. Hmmmm.
As I prayed, I became more aware of the spiritual nature of God’s creation and of God as the source of all good. So, if God’s creation is all good, what was I reacting to? For me, the cure was as simple as changing how I viewed the various forms of environmental stimuli that were making me uncomfortable. I focused on reacting to the goodness and love coming from these beloved family pets and the beauty all around me. And before long I was a frequent guest at my friends’ homes. I was also enjoying the beautiful outdoors of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains without any allergic reactions.
As fall approaches, seasonal allergies become a challenge for many people. Over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Maybe you are one of them? Like me, you may feel like a prisoner, avoiding triggers such as the outdoors and animals. But you too can find permanent relief through spiritual means. Today, it is hard to imagine that I ever considered myself a “prisoner” to allergies. My four cats and two dogs can’t imagine it either.
Debra Chew is a self-syndicated columnist and writes about the connection between thought, spirituality and health. She has been published in the chattanoogan.com, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Jackson Sun Health Magazine, and in the UK. She is a Christian Science Practitioner and also the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science for TN. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.