Eating Radium

In the early 1900’s the radioactive element radium was all the rage.  Discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie, it was soon found that by mixing small amounts of radium into paint the items could be made to glow in the dark.  This was extremely useful for cockpit instruments and soon found its way into the watches and clocks of people around the world.

But, of course, someone had to actually paint all of those tiny clock hands and this task fell mostly to young female factory workers.  Day after day these young women would dip their paintbrushes into the radioactive paint and would often lick their paintbrushes in order to give them a fine point.  In the process they were ingesting minute quantities of radium.  At the time it was believed that radium was harmless or possibly even beneficial to human health.  Sometimes the factory workers would paint their nails or teeth with the leftover paint to amuse themselves and stand out at parties.

It wasn’t until several years later that the women began to get sick – suffering from anemia and extremely brittle bones.  In some cases their jaw bones would literally crumble and had to be removed.  The body absorbs radium the same way it absorbs calcium and proceeds to store it in the bones.  The radium then radioactively decays, destroying surrounding bone and tissue.  That which the women had been told was harmless ended up killing them.

Do we fall into the same trap?  Do we consume spiritual radium?

I don’t watch much TV, but every now and then my wife and I will pull something up on the Kindle.  It’s amazing how much things have changed over the years.  Words and images that would have shocked viewers twenty years ago are now commonplace.  We’ve been told that these things are natural and harmless.  At times we’re even told that we are overly protective of our children if we shelter them from these types of media.

The problem is that if we watch that which is vulgar and obscene we make it a part of us.  The change might not be noticeable at first, but over time we become coarse and crude, desensitized to the beauty and wonder of that which is good and pure.  This spiritual radium becomes incorporated into our very bones, destroying us from the inside out.

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