Seeing as how I have spent much of my time lately preoccupied with my poison ivy, I have attempted to find it’s redeeming quality. Certainly it must have one, certainly the Creator imbued it with some sacred purpose, as He did the rest of nature. Even the lowest creature has some divine fundamental duty. If I could understand it’s place in the master design, then perhaps I could forgive it’s unpleasant existence.
That proved to be more difficult that I anticipated. The only reasonable explanation I could come up with is that poison ivy is a metaphor for sin. Stay with me here.
First, you get poison ivy when you are not paying attention. You must be on guard for it’s presence at all times as you travel the woods. You also get it when you wander off the designated trail, the way that is clearly marked for your passage. As with sin, if you are careless, or foolishly step off the path, you become vulnerable to hidden corruption.
Once you’ve been exposed to the plant, you show symptoms of it. The raised blisters, inflamed skin. There is physical evidence that you’ve been in touch with something you should have stayed away from. Same with sin. It brands you. You cannot walk away from poison ivy without consequence, and neither can you step away unmarked from sin. The oil of poison ivy is invisible to the eye, but it has a very real, noticeable impact on our bodies. Sin may be concealed in our hearts, but it is evident in our lives.
Poison ivy is worse if you scratch it. It is an almost unbearable itch, constant and unsatisfied. You may start out with a gentle rub, but before you know it, you have succumbed to a full, deep scratching. Sin is the same. Though you may indulge only slightly at first, before you know it, you are fully committed to the sin, despite your original intentions. And as with poison ivy, the itch of sin is never fully satisfied, returning in moments even stronger. The more you scratch, the more you want to scratch. The more you sin, the more you want to sin.
Treatment of poison ivy is tedious. You dry up the rash, minimize the itching, and wait. In the same way, we deal with sin. We treat the consequences of our sin as we can, with prayer and common sense, and then we wait on God to restore us. And He will. Poison ivy doesn’t last forever, the skin will heal in time. It is not a permanent condition. Neither is our sin. It is an earthly condition, one we must always be wary of, but it is not final. We will find relief from sin in eternity with Christ, where we will be unblemished and perfect.
So that’s it, my soliloquy – The Redeeming Grace To Be Found in Toxicodendron Radicans.
Now, back to the calamine.