By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
From time to time a news article catches my attention and provides an excellent analogy for a spiritual lesson. Such was the case when I read the following headline posted by the Associated Press: “Doctors Find 350 Coins in Patient’s Belly.” 
Here’s how the article began:
French doctors were taken aback when they discovered the reason for a patient’s sore swollen belly: he had swallowed around 350 coins – $650 worth – along with associated necklaces and needles. The 62-year-old man came to the emergency room of Cholet General Hospital in western France. He had a history of major psychiatric illness, was suffering from stomach pain and could not eat. 
When the man was brought to the hospital, his family warned the emergency staff that the man sometimes swallowed coins. When an x-ray was taken, the examining doctors could not believe their eyes. An enormous opaque mass in his stomach turned out to be twelve pounds of metal. It was so heavy it had forced his stomach down below his hips.
Obviously, the man had a problem. Although the doctors operated, the man died twelve days later due to complications. He was diagnosed with a condition known as pica – a compulsion to eat things not normally consumed as food. The name of this condition comes from the Latin word for magpie, a bird that is thought to eat just about anything.
Obviously, this was a very sad and tragic situation. Let me make it clear that by mentioning this poor man’s malady, I am not intending to make light of mental illness. Click here to continue reading.