Post Plague Thoughts

A brutal stomach bug (okay, calling it "plague" may be an exaggeration, but it was awful) is not the reason that I would have liked to take two days off from work this week, but I didn't get a great deal of option.

Now, on the other side of it, I've been thinking about the things that I appreciate about being so suddenly and stunningly (and briefly) sick.

It increased my compassion, at least for a while.  I am disgustingly healthy much of the time, despite the fact that, as Fezzik put it in The Princess Bride, "I don't even exercise."  (I do, however, drink hot water.  Take that as you will.)  I tend therefore to think that if everyone drank more hot water and ate more garlic and walked everywhere, they'd probably be fine too.

Needless to say, I am probably drastically more empathetic in the week or so after I've been sick than I am most of the rest of the time.

It forced me to rest.  And to stop doing anything.  And to stop somehow thinking that my doing is what keeps the world spinning, or Crumble functioning, or God loving me.  Let me tell you, I definitely tested that theory on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Especially Tuesday.  On Tuesday I slept.  I didn't catch up with emails.  I didn't skype friends.  I didn't work on newsletters.  I didn't do prep work for my Isaiah Bible study.  I don't think that I was really awake for long enough to pray.  I didn't story write.  I didn't even read a book, because I was just too tired.  (That may be a historic occasion, since I have been known to read a book when I'm too tired to sleep.  I'm looking at YOU, overnight train ride from Shanxi to Xi'an.)

You know what?  The world kept spinning.  Crumble stayed open.  God still loved me.

It made me appreciate the fact that my parents (and all parents I know) have somehow not completely lost their marbles when their kids got stomach bugs.  I don't yet really understand how it's possible, but my friend Mel suggested that God gives special grace to parents.  Must be...

Finally, it put me into a state of what my friend Elizabeth has correctly termed "post-sickness euphoria."  It's sort of like being in love, only even more lovely, because you realize how grand "normal" actually is.  When I woke up this morning and my body wasn't sore and my head didn't ache and I realized that I could go to work and go out on a walk and see the fall leaves, I was ecstatic.  Because yes, this is how things ought to be.  The way they were for the few previous days was, most emphatically, not how they ought to be.  And the sudden restoration of my circumstances to how they should be -- well.  It was wondrous and made me rejoice just in the normal.  I walked into work and told Laura, "I'm not sure I've ever been happier to be here."

When Elizabeth introduced me to that term, she added, "And I often wonder if one day we will have post-brokenness euphoria."

Amen and amen.


  1. I wonder what makes you think parents do not lose their marbles...

  2. keep meaning to say, do you remember a post of Middle Aged Dad about getting over the "Martian Death Flu?" I keep thinking of that phrase.


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