Yesterday evening someone was aksing me how things were going, and commented that the drugs are, afterall, poisons. I observed that one of the drugs I'm currently receiving is related, chemically, to mustard gas - a bizarre link with chemical warfare, though I find 'battle' language unhelpful as a metaphor for the challenges of treatment.
All of which got me thinking about the fuzzy boundaries that always exist between swords and ploughshares. Having worked in the nuclear industry it was a tension and a fuzziness I lived with daily... the reality that the same basic technology could produce weapons of mass destruction, (relatively) clean electricity and the radio-isotopes on which so much diagnostic and therapeutic medicine depends. X-rays, CT scans, bone scans... they all depend on radiation and they all employ sources that come from the nuclear industry, in all its flawed beauty.
Whether it is our nonstick saucepan or the high refractive index glass that means highly myopic people like me can have thin lenses in their glasses, it is out of swords that these ploughshares have been made. It would lovely to think that humanity would make such discoveries without the "need" for swords, but in a disordered world, we have to live with the blurry boundaries and delight in the good that, by the grace of God, can come out of the things that disturb us.
Chemical warfare is an attrocity, make no mistake, but I'm not sorry that the skills to develop such evil can also be used to discover chemicals that, through controlled toxicity, can bring hope and health.