Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

By any scale with which one could measure, I am a lousy sick person. The last week has affirmed this truth, and I am sure Tara would eagerly agree. I knew I was in trouble when a couple of well-meaning persons commented after choir practice last Wednesday night, "James, you don't look too good." By the next evening (Maundy Thursday), it took me five cough drops to get through our worship service. Days (and nights) of coughing, hacking, headaches, and a fever led to no rest for James.

I think one of the reasons I'm a lousy sick person is because of my attention span -- or lack thereof. I usually keep pretty busy, and being sick requires not being busy. In fact, I didn't leave our house from early evening Friday until Monday morning, when I made the trek to my doctor and the pharmacy (OK...and I spent about 1 hour up at the office. Being gone on a Sunday, especially Easter Sunday, and not knowing what was going on at church was killing me!). Then it was back home until Wednesday morning, when I reemerged to the world. As it turns out, Tara was right in nearly forcing me to the doctor as the bronchitis I was determined to fight off on my own had transitioned to pneumonia (Yeah! a new illness to cross off the never-experienced list!). Tara being right is becoming annoyingly habitual.

Honestly, the most difficult part of being sick is not the strain on my attention-span, or even the physical pain - though neither of these are pleasant. No, the most difficult part is how completely reliant on others I must become. Tara took wonderful care of me, making several trips to the store for food and/or medicine, even though she had a multitude of responsibilities of her own. Leaders at our church, both lay leaders and ministerial staff, stepped up to make sure my responsibilities were covered in my absence. In fact, it can be quite a kick to the old ego when we discover how well everyone can get along with out us.

It seems like each time I am truly ill, God reminds me of how ridiculous my pride in my own self-reliance can be. I think most of us would be better served is we would allow ourselves to be "better served." There is great wisdom in both asking for and receiving aid from those willing and able to give it. Each time I make this realization and allow myself to receive help, I have the same reaction: My heart swells with gratitude for those who give it. We are not intended by our Creator to tackle the world on our own. The strength God grants us through the divine presence of the Spirit, as well as the combined strength of other persons, always exceeds our own.

However, now that I'm starting to feel better...

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