I’m sick today. Nothing serious, just a cold, but enough to stay home for. I ache, but not severely, and my voice is two octaves lower than usual. Sleep overtakes me every two hours or so, for two hours or so. In the waking intervals I read and consume hot tea and chicken soup by the gallon. Apart from the few calls and e-mails it took to cancel the pieces of my day’s routine, I am free to expect nothing of myself, and everyone seems just as content to expect the same from me. It amazes me how dispensable I am.
We are much less complicated I think when we are sick, maybe because it takes all our energy to be sick. We are alone in illness. No one can share it, not even those who might be similarly ill. For a day or two that can be a relief. Long term, I imagine it would be frightening. I’m never anxious when I’m sick; it’s as if my body and mind have more important things to do, are able to prioritize the real above the imaginary more effectively than under healthy circumstances.
Ill health is a rare luxury for me, so much so I almost don’t know how to do it. I, of course, can understand it as a luxury because it is so rare. I will most likely feel better tomorrow and begin a return to normalcy. For those who are truly and constantly sick it must be all limitation and pain or nausea or irredeemable weakness. For some, I believe, illness is a vocation. I cannot imagine that…I reckon I’m afraid to try.
For today, I will enjoy sleeping, reading, tea and soup. I will pray with a little more understanding for those who cope with constant or chronic sickness. I pray that they will find freedom in place of frustration. I pray that their pain will be lessened. I pray that they will cherish moments of feeling a little better. I pray that God will bless their vocation in cases where illness has become that. I pray that God will make way for relationship where sickness has brought isolation. I pray that God will heal us all and grant us eternal life, now and in the world to come.