My family has been through a bout of sickness lately – the swine flu. We’ve been sharing and passing the symptoms around: fevers, aches, chills, headaches, and a gut-busting cough. It’s been abnormally quiet and sedate around here as we all nap, read books, and watch “Ace of Cakes” or “Man vs. Food” without any desire to eat anything we’re watching on the TV. On top of that, a deer ran into my car just before the flu caught up with us (people say I hit it, but as I become a basket case when any animal except a cockroach is injured, I maintain that it hit me!). We’ve sort of just hunkered down and done… nothing. We haven’t gone anywhere unless out of necessity. We’ve made a couple of runs to the store for Jello, Gatorade, Tylenol, Robitussin, toilet paper, and eggs. But for the bulk of the last few weeks, we’ve actually been under budget as far as our groceries and gas go. Hallelujah! A silver lining…
Really though, while I wouldn’t wish swine flu on anyone, save maybe Hugo Chavez, there have been a lot of silver linings through this period of illness and lack of transportation. We are resting. Really resting. So much of our lives feel as if we are running futilely and endlessly on gerbil wheels. Even though we homeschool, it seems like we still wake up each morning, run through our day as fast and as hard as we can, and then fall exhausted into our beds. Where’s the time to sit and enjoy each other? Where’s the time to think? To imagine? To love as if there is no tomorrow? Certainly not in paying the bills or doing the laundry. Definitely not in the chapters of chemistry or algebra books. Absolutely not in the grocery shopping or trips to the post office. Unquestionably not in video games, Facebook pages, or always present emails.
Since we’ve been recuperating, however, we’ve taken the time to play Life, to lay out on the cool grass, under blue skies, and do nothing. Our animals have had plenty of laps to lie in or rest their head upon. Because of headaches, our minds have been quieted by time spent reading rather than abused by the blaring of loud television commercials. Our beds have become sanctuaries, and we’ve spent lots of time cuddling, hugging, and using each other as pillows.
I don’t particularly like being sick. In fact, I hate it. I dislike how disruptive it is to our lives. I loathe how I have to cede control of my life and let my body dictate the schedule of each day. No exercise, no food, no comfort in my own body. And yet… without being forced to “give up” so much of what I think makes my life full of purpose, I would miss what really is my purpose. I would miss the rest. I would miss the quiet. I would miss the time loving my family and being loved by them.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Maybe the deer and the swine flu were a way for God to get my attention. Maybe I needed to get off that gerbil wheel, even if only to take time to count my blessings….