Personal experience must continue to be valid

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Viewpoint with Rev. Don Miller, First Baptist Church

You would be amazed to discover how many people in Amherst sleep with a bar of soap.

For the past few months I have been plagued with leg cramps,  less affectionately known as “Charlie horses.” They usually wake me out of a deep sleep and I have had as many as three a night.  It’s a painful piece of work!

It seems to be a family thing. I remember my grandmother always talked about being haunted by them but one visit she said she had found an old remedy that she now swore by. Sleeping with an open bar of soap in your bed.  She claimed it was an instant remedy. 

I always thought it was an old wives tale, but in desperation I gave it a try.  Instant relief - I couldn’t believe it! I admit, the first night it felt silly as I passed the soap puck back and forth between my feet like a hockey player but eventually I forgot about it and I haven’t had a Charlie Horse since. 

I was so excited that I decided to share my news on Facebook but quickly discovered that there were a lot of other crazy people who sleep with a bar of soap on a regular basis! People shared their stories. One woman told me how after being cramp-free for 6 months she awoke up with serve spasms just to discover that the soap had fallen out on the floor. There were lots of tips but the overwhelming belief was that a little piece of soap had changed lives.    

Scientists claim that there is absolutely no merit in the practice.  That there is no logical reason why soap would ever have the desired effect.  That it is simply a placebo effect that people have fooled themselves into believing. Soap is simply a ‘snake oil’ that desperate people have tried to find hope in. Yet many people, my grandmother included,  swear by the fact that this remedy has made all the leg pain go away.  Scientific studies have supposedly proven me crazy. 

Whether it's in regards to a religious experience or a bar soap experience, science can sometimes fall short.  I believe that many things cannot be explained by science and I’m beginning to wonder when ‘science’ became ‘God’ for so many people. Some people adamantly believe that if it cannot be proven by science then it simple cannot be legitimate. Let’s remember that initially it was science that led us to believe that the earth was flat. Science that taught us the earth was the centre of the universe. Science that lead many to believe that lead could be turned to gold (alchemy) and that there was absolutely, positively no correlation between germs and hand-washing.    

It’s difficult to measure fulfillment. Hard to quantify joy or analyze peace. A personal experience must continue to be valid. In fact, in this world of change, it may be the only thing we truly can depend on.

So as for soap in my bed...I AM A BELIEVER! 

Organizations: First Baptist Church

Geographic location: Amherst

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Recent comments

  • Buddly Tinnington
    June 22, 2014 - 22:04

    Science actively tries to correct its mistakes while religion actively tries to cover up its glaring flaws