During the last few weeks, we’ve had a lot of sick days around our house. As a matter of fact, we’ve had more sick days than well days. And because we are a loving family, and we like to share with each other, we just keep passing things back and forth.
We’ve had it all. We’ve had the coughy-sneezy-sniffly thing. We’ve had the headache-fever-achey thing. We’ve even had the yucky stomach thing. We’ve had so many bugs at our house, I’ve been tempted to call the exterminator.
We run the gamut at our house of types of sick people, too. My daughter is ready to call 9-1-1 when she stubs her toe, but she doesn’t want to actually be sick. She runs from the thermometer, and insists that she (cough) is (achoo!) fine.
My dear husband refuses to acknowledge sickness of any kind. He just gets grumpy and keeps going like the Energizer Bunny. And heaven help the person who tries to baby him. He is a tough guy.
So he just keeps going and going until he finally falls over, and the rest of us stand around at a distance and watch to make sure his chest is still moving.
“Is he dead?”
“No, I think I saw a little movement there.”
“Maybe you’d better check his pulse.”
“I’m not gonna do it! You do it.”
“I’m not gonna do it!”
Then, about an hour into his coma-like sleep, he starts snoring. Loudly. And we all breathe a deep sigh of relief.
My son tells it like it is. He would much rather be out climbing trees than sick in bed. So, when he says he doesn’t feel well, he means it.
One such time, he complained of a stomach ache.
“Mom, do I have to eat dinner? My tummy really hurts.”
“Are you sure you can’t eat just a few more bites?”
“Okay, I’ll try. But it really hurts.”
A few minutes later . . . well, I won’t go into the gory details. One of these days I will learn to listen to my son when he tells me his tummy hurts.
Later that evening, the poor guy was holding his stomach. “Mommy, it hurts! It really hurts. Mommy . . . I think I’m having birth!”
(Please remind me to have “the talk” with my son.)
But, within a couple of days, he was out climbing trees again. It did my mother-heart good to see him back to normal. Now, if I can only keep him from falling out of a tree and breaking his arm . . .
As for me, well, I’m the biggest baby in the house. The only problem is, I’m the mom. And the mom isn’t allowed to get sick. So I usually end up pretending I’m not sick. But then I feel sorry for myself and I get caught up in the whole “poor little me” game, which is worse by far than just admitting that I’m sick and staying in bed. When will I learn?
But I shouldn’t complain. Truly, I have the greatest kids and the sweetest husband in the world. When I am sick, they fix me hot tea and plump my pillows and stroke my hair and tell me how they wish I felt better. Sometimes this outpouring of mercy and compassion lasts for the better side of fifteen minutes.
Have you noticed that we don’t appreciate our health until it is taken from us? As I type this, I am taking a deep breath. With my mouth closed, even! And I am so grateful for a nose that works. Right now, for the first time in a month, we are all healthy. I feel very blessed.
So I suppose that even in sickness, there is good. For it is in sickness that we learn to value our health. It is in sickness that we learn to be grateful for the little things, like clear sinuses and clean toilets. And it is in sickness that we are given extra opportunities to show our love for one another.
3 John 2 “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”