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Monday, January 30, 2012

When thy neighbors don't love thee back

When God distilled His 600-plus Commandments down to Ten, He may have been hoping that this would clarify matters once and for all.  However, humans can be an obtuse bunch.  God had to then distill those Ten down to these Two:  Love God, and Love Thy Neighbor.

The world has since discovered the unpleasant reality behind Robert Frost’s famous quote:  Good fences make good neighbors.  Sometimes even those who manage to love their neighbors find that these very same neighbors just don’t love them back.

What then?

Chronic inflammation – that’s what…

Melissa Dahl of MSNBC’s Health Today reports on the results of a new University of California, Los Angeles, study linking “negative social interaction to increased inflammation.”  Although inflammation itself isn’t a bad thing (“it’s an immune system response that fights infections and helps heal physical injuries”), chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk in diseases such as coronary heart disease and even cancer.  Stress seems to activate this immune response – and Jessica Chiang, lead author of this UCLA research report, adds that “interpersonal stressors are often the biggest stressors that people experience in their daily lives.”

This, indeed, might be the definitive response to Frost’s poetic query:  Why do good fences make good neighbors?  Nevertheless, we and the poet go on pondering mysteries such as these:  Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.

After all:  Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down!  - and that “Something” might just be greater than all the inflammatory conclusions this world can muster.


Copyright January 30, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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