The advertisement was effective. A woman talks about her cancer. A doctor gives her two months to live. Then her sister makes her an appointment at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They care for her. They conduct tests. They overturn the findings of the doctor who gave her two months to live. They tell her, “You don’t have an expiration date.” She rejoices. Images of her smiling and doing happy things, knowing now she has no expiration date. At the end of the commercial she says, “Health is everything.”
I stare at the TV in disbelief. I say it out loud, “Everyone has an expiration date. It’s the second date on your grave.” Bodies do not live forever; they eventually wear out, break down and quit. Ask any hospice nurse. And her belief that ‘health is everything’ reminded me of this comment from Jurgen Moltmann:
“True health is the strength to live, the strength to suffer, and the strength to die. Health is not a condition of my body; it is the power of my soul to cope with the varying condition of that body.”
Physical health is good. Medicine is good. Cancer is bad. Death is bad. But death is real too, and it is not good to live as if death is not real. No body lives in a fantasy land with no expiration date, except in the world of advertising.