Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When life hands you the stomach flu . . .

I cannot bring myself to complete that sentence! All I can say is I am into the fourth day of this ridiculous, and persistent nausea, achiness, and general weakness, and the advantage of being almost-37 is that I have purposed to accept it.

I decided to take the grown-up approach, especially after talking to my doctor's nurse, who told me I am almost certainly suffering from the latest bug she's been seeing. She was sympathetic, but not surprised that every night includes alternating episodes of cold and hot, which keeps me waking up perpetually, until the sun finally peeks in, and I awaken to another day of yuckiness. Beautiful, eh?

My usual prayer when being assailed with a flu or a bronchitis or a strep throat, etc., is to ask God that it would be the 24-hour variety. And the husband did pray over me last night, asking God to give me a better day today. I do see a teensy bit of improvement in that I actually ventured out of the house and took a 1/4 mile walk around the neighborhood. If the nurse is right, I've got to be almost to the end of this little episode, which gives me comfort.

But meanwhile, my life's activities have grinded to a halt. No classes yesterday--and I only get one skip in my night class, Spiritual Formation. But there was literally nothing I could do. I canceled two appointments as well, but was a bit surprised to find that I can still read my world religions and even my hermeneutics text while feeling . . . I won't complete that sentence either. If I take my time, I can get through them.

Today I received my Real Simple magazine in the mailbox, and I slowed down to read it, after having consumed entirely too much television over the last three days. And a writer named Daphne Murkin had written an article titled "The Memory Game." I especially appreciated this quote:

"Contemporary existence demands so much splitting of attention--between phone calls, emails, text messages, Twitter, and the constant allure of online shopping, not to mention TV and DVDs--that only the most strong willed go through life in an undistracted fashion. The problem in turn with being so distracted is that we inhabit daily experience in an absentminded mode and, as a result, have more difficulty forming strong memories, as though the passing moment didn't leave enough of a trace."

And you have to know what I was thinking. Getting the flu slows you down long ago for you to notice that you tend toward distraction. And to realize that you don't want to live absentmindedly. That you want to live this abundant life Jesus calls us to, forming strong memories, living well, gratefully, and graciously.

I am not recommending sickness as a cure for distraction (or a weight loss cure either!) but it does force us into slowness and contemplation at times. When life hands you the stomach flu, you might as well accept it. Slow down. Reflect Jesus well and lovingly. Appreciate the health you've been given. Cut down on distractions.

And if at all possible, complete your hermeneutics reading.

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