A New Year’s Prescription

Covid Flag 3

The Book of Proverbs presents a plan of survival for the age of Covid rooted in ancient wisdom. It offers the collected experience of humankind gathered in useful aphorisms. I am applying these sayings to the challenges of our time by means of a unique color coding system.

Some Proverbs simply describe the way the world works. I color these sayings yellow. For our consideration today here are two of my favorite descriptive proverbs:

A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones

A tranquil mind gives life to the flesh, but passion makes the bones rot

These yellow coded sayings should not be read as advice. They offer the oldest written medical observations on record and as such they tell us what is true: Health of body begins in the mind. The question (as always) is this, given the undeniable reality Proverbs describes, what does the wise person do (color code blue) and what is the way of the fool (color code orange).

For Proverbs, the wise display an identifiable pattern in their self talk and in their communications with other people that helps maintain wellbeing: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body”. But the health of the fool is poisoned by a different kind of speaking. Proverbs says “Their speech is like a scorching fire.” If the ancients could log on to some of our social media in these covid days I fear they might judge ours to be an age dedicated to self-destruction.

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