About three years ago, I wrote a short article on nitrous oxide. The main point of it was to note that what we call reality is missing a vital dimension. We live in a land of nitrous oxide surrounded by a spiritual reality that we can only dimly perceive. Mankind has a deep yearning to penetrate into that world. The late CS Lewis felt that this universal desire is a longing for heaven. Some of us have suppressed it and try to pretend that it isn’t there.
I still agree with those thoughts but I want to approach the phenomenon of nitrous oxide which I experienced at the office of my dentist from another point of view.
Nitrous is a gas which causes the brain to descend into a fog. Actually everything begins to kind of buzz and if you close your eyes, you lose track of time. I always thought that more time had elapsed than actually had and also I thought I was more aware of the real world than I actually was. The person affected by this gas is mostly useless for meaningful conversation.
My greatest fear for my mind as it ages, is that it will lose track of the real world. I fear Alzheimer’s and senile dementia more than cancer, car accidents, heart disease or any other thing. I have noticed small differences, deterioration’s in my mental capacity. These are normal but are they the harbingers of something more sinister to come? If the mind begins to fade, are we aware that it is fading?
Recently, I had a dream about this very subject and I woke up with a strong desire to write this blog article. It occurred to me that the deterioration of the brain is probably very much like the effect of nitrous oxide on me in the dentist’s office. It is rather a pleasant isolation, a sweet period of introspection. Every so often the brain returns to the real world for a moment and says something coherent but as time goes by the fog is all that is left. Oddly, this thought comforted me. I really liked the peace I felt in the dentist chair where I no longer cared what he was doing to my teeth. I spent my time in that fog talking to God and I now wonder if that is what the Saints of God who suffer from Alzheimer’s are doing? Are they lying there praying? Enjoying His company? I bet they are.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is [c]near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all[d]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.