insights from the sick bed: being weller

I have had the flu.
Got a flu shot last fall,
so I don’t think I had the full-blown version.
My joints didn’t ache.
Muscles didn’t hurt, they were just fatigued.
But I certainly had a persistent fever, congestion,
and low, low energy.

And it was day after day after day.
What was missing
was any day by day improvement.
Just wasn’t there.

So day after day after day,
the sofa was my friend.
The sofa, a pillow, a blanket—
quiet rest, and water … lots and lots of water.

Amidst the frustration, some gifts to name—
in part because of Lenten reflections
on the discipline of everyday spirituality
(i.e. if God is part of even this, what do I have to learn?):

• a renewed appreciation for so much we tend to take for granted
(like getting up!);

• a more profound respect for the vital importance of rest
in a physically mandated rather holistic sabbath experience
(the experience of a kind of if-you-don’t-do-sabbath,
sabbath-will-do-you—within my theology,
not as punishment, you understand,
but as consequence);

• a deepened regard for the timing of healing
that can’t be rushed—for the necessity of a rhythm
of carefully measured expenditures of energy
and compensating times of rest—
of investing in stillness for future possibility;

noting, even while feeling abstracted
and removed from important things
happening within the community:
a. a sense of being a part of it all in prayer
and limited social media contact;
b. a celebration of the gifts and ministry of others;
c. trust for our community of faith in the affirmation
that part of our work together prepares us
for work not together;

• an immense gratitude for those who dismissed
any added inconvenience to their schedule or responsibilities
due to my sickness—
and for those who called, texted, or emailed
to see if there were anything they could do
(and there wasn’t, but it was the contact that mattered).

Gradually, the fever broke.
The muscle fatigue went away.

As I write, I’m still recovering.
Still wear out too quickly.
I am feeling so much better though—
enjoying thinking again and writing—
beginning to get back out.

I anticipate the return of strength and stamina—
grateful that I can expect that.
Yes, I anticipate celebrating God and community,
relationships and the rhythms of health
within all the activity of taking so much for granted again,
but am grateful for a life of faith not limited to such.


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