“The Lord said to my Lord,’Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.’ The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem[you will rule over your enemies. When you go to war, your people will serve you willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew (Psalm 110:1-3).”
Gregory House has fought many battles in his fictional life as the main character on the TV drama named after him. A recent episode called “Body and Soul” served as a microcosm for these conflicts.
One of the political parties in America is currently being accused of a “War on Women”. The politicos accused of carrying out this war are crying foul, saying it doesn’t exist.
For Dr. House, the shoe fits perfectly. He has loved and lost so many times I have lost count.
In “Body and Soul” his relationship with his wife comes to a boil and is then spoiled. His marriage has been a sham anyway and it ends in disaster.
He married Dominika in a bargain which allowed her to apply for a green card. House is getting renumeration for this matrimony.
However, having been caught faking it by Homeland Security, yet given another change, they have pretended to be the perfect couple. Ironically, they actually have begun developing affection for each other.
House in fact trashes the notice from the goverment telling Dominika she has been awarded her green card. He figures she will walk out the door once she gets it and he enjoys having her around.
Far be if from House to actually talk out his feelings with Dominika. His flawed persona prevents him from coming anywhere close to that possibility.
Upon getting a phone call in which she is informed that the government office issuing her card has been waiting for her, she asks how many notices they have sent. Once she learns that House has obviously been dumping them, it’s hasta la vista Dominika.
In “Body and Soul” House also continues his usual antics with his fellow team of diagnosticians. The normal berating, game playing and prodding goes on, ostensibly as a ploy to help House come to a definitive conclusion as to what is ailing their latest patient.
The doctors engage in the usual give and take over an Asian boy of Hmong descent named Lue Cheng. The boy has had severe respiratory distress and nightmares.
House would not normally take such a case, but when his boss Dr. Foreman tells him the young man is Hmong and has nightmares which include an old hag trying to choke him, House gets interested. He tells his team about a syndrome afflicting young Hmong males which kills them suddenly as they sleep.
As the medical case develops a regular pet peeve of House’s surfaces in the form of the boy’s father-in-law, who suggests that the Lue is not ill but under the attack of demons. Anyone who watches House knows that the doctor is completely dismissive of spiritual things, matters of faith and the people who give credence to such things.
The father-in-law persists in his claims, explaining that he believes his son, and the boy’s father, ended up killing his boss and going to prison because of the same spiritual oppression. At first, the doctors and the boy’s mother refuse to allow the father-in-law to perform a ceremony to ward off these spirits.
In fact, team member Dr. Robert Chase asks the mother, Lida, if she believes a spirit could be hurting her son, noting that even suggesting that to Lue could cause physical problems. Lida looks insulted and tells Chase she is an engineer and that she knows illnesses are not caused by evil spirits.
Along the way Lue exhibits odd behavior. He speaks in tongues and exhibits bruises after a dream. House explains these things away medically.
However, the boy gets progessively worse and when Lue is seen levitating in bed by the doctors and his mother, Lida changes her mind. House is of course incredulous and insists that the levitation was some sort of parlor trick, even demonstrating by showing them he can “levitate” a few inches above the floor.
Even so, faced with a legal challenge Foreman allows the father-in-law to perform his ceremony. The father-in-law begins a ceremonial exorcism.
In the meantime, the doctors continue to argue the medical issues. House indicates that since the mother has given up, so has he. He is now worried that even if they can cure the boy, the ceremony will get the credit and the mother will go off into the world having “faith in faith”.
However, as they continue to talk House determines that Lue has an extremely rare condition. which Dr. Jessixa Adams believes is wrong. She notes, however, after calming down that the treatment is simply administering Ibuprofen.
House is obviously angry and his doctors appear to think his diagnosis is spurious. Chase says,”You’re not gonna let us save an eight-year-old because one more person might embrace religion?”. (Chase is a fallen Catholic seminarian.)
House replies,”Does anyone here think my diagnosis is right?” When no one moves or says anything, he continues,” Well, then I have decided for today only, to respect your opinions. We will proceed according to your diagnosis and nothing else. That’s an order. Good luck.”.
When the doctors reenter Lue’s room in the midst of the ceremony, the boy crashes. Adams tells Lida frantically to stop the ceremony and then pushes a nurse out of the way and says,”I’m giving him the Ibuprofen.” The end result is that Lue is cured.
Afterwards House barges into the office of his best friend, Dr. James Wilson for solace. House and Wilson have had their battles over the years as well.
Twice their friendship has shattered over actions of House which directly affected Wilson. However, Wilson is a forgiving type and they are now close gain.
House tells Wilson of his problems. Dominika has left. Adas has defied him. “There’s another religious zealot in the world”, he adds.
Wilson replies,”I have cancer.” Wilson himself is an oncologist.
House blows this remark off as a joke, but Wilson persists:
“Stage II thymoma. I didn’t want to tell you until I had it confirmed. I got the tests back this morning. I have cancer, House.”
The news sinks in. House’s world, normally a chaotic combat zone, has just fallen completely apart. His one refuge in the world, his best friend, may also be taken from him.
After eight years of watching House, the end of “Body and Soul” is like experiencing all the air go out of a balloon. How much dysfunction can one person possess and experience?
As noted at the beginning, House has fought many battles. The one he will always lose is the one he fights with God.
It’s too bad House doesn’t have God as an ally. If he did, he still might have to battle his unhealthy behaviors, but God would have his back.
Even in the midst of unspeakable suffering, which unlike House was none of his doing, Job was able to say,”I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth (Job 19:25).
This is a great promise. The army controlling the battlefield when hostilities are over is the victor. That’s the hope we have if God is on our side during the midst of our battles.
Tanks are one of the amazingly strong and destructive weapons any army has in its arsenal. In modern warfare, soldiers will gather around them and let the tanks lead the way if they know what’s good for them.
If we’re smart. we’ll let God be our “tank” in the battles that we face.