The family and I have been sick for the past two weeks now. Not all at the same time – it’s been in waves and remissions and relapses – but we’ve each been sick for long, extended periods of time. Nothing serious, but it’s been a long haul!
My natural reaction has NOT been patient suffering, but instead petulant, complaining suffering. I will not list my grievances here, but if you’ve had any contact with me over the past two weeks, you have probably heard them already!
Here’s some great advice from St. Francis de Sales on being patient during sickness:
Others, again, accept one side of a trouble but fret against the rest–as, for instance, believing themselves to be patient under sickness, only fretting against their inability to obtain the best advice, or at the inconvenience they are to their friends. But, dear child, be sure that we must patiently accept, not sickness only, but such sickness as God chooses to send, in the place, among the people, and subject to the circumstances which He ordains;–and so with all other troubles.
I read this several years ago, and it occurred to me several times during the course of this sickness, but I never got into the spirit of it. To my credit, I was fully aware that I was not patient under sickness. Ha!
Regardless, there were a few small moments of gratitude sprinkled into this experience, so as a tiny way to fight back against the enemy and my own complainy self, I thought I’d share them with you here …
- One weekend afternoon when Pete and I were both feeling terrible, the girls both took extra-long naps. They don’t always do that when they’re sick, so I truly experienced it as the Lord’s mercy! Especially when they got up and proceeded to just contentedly watch football with us for most of the rest of the day. Miraculous.
- I complained on Facebook about my messy house, and a good friend immediately offered to come over and do laundry for me. What a true friend! I knew she meant it and I also knew she wouldn’t mind me changing the details, so I asked her to come over and take the baby for a walk so I could do some cleaning myself. When Pete ended up staying home sick that day, I called her to cancel, and she gave me the excellent advice to take the baby out for a walk myself so I could get some fresh air & sunshine and a break from the house. I followed her advice and it really helped keep me going during a couple of the hardest days we had.
- One gorgeous fall day when I was stuck in the house with the sick kids and my sick self AGAIN, I started to feel intensely disappointed at all the beautiful fall weather we’d been missing. South Bend has actually been having amazing weather the whole time we’ve been sick! I ruefully thought about how this small period of our lives would go down in history as our “fall scourge.” Then I remembered where the phrase “fall scourge” had come from: in one of my favorite books, Christy, the title character uses that phrase to describe typhoid fever, as it ravages the Appalachian community where she’s working. As soon as I thought about typhoid, and about the many people who have died from it, I felt so convicted! All we have is a cold here (and maybe one kid occasionally vomiting). Yes, we might miss all the beautiful fall weather, but we will live to see next fall! Put me in my place.
- And it was the very next day that the toddler felt well enough for me to take both girls for a walk around the block. That was about all we could do, but it was actually awesome.
- Ten or twelve days into it, my father-in-law called one afternoon and offered to bring us Chinese food for dinner. His main idea was to help Pete’s sinuses with spicy szechuan chicken, but gosh, what a help it was to me – we got two dinners out of it and the girls even ate it (not the spicy stuff, haha).
I am pretty certain that there are more gifts I could tell you about. But I’m still battling a sinus infection and need to go get some rest, so I’ll leave you here. God bless you and protect you all from sickness!