Nothing like a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup when you're feeling sick and lethargic. Unfortunately, even that wasn't a comfort to me this past week: my son and I both came down with strep throat. With a throat that's on fire, it's hard to swallow anything, especially something hot. One of my only comforts this week? Cold Edy's peppermint ice cream! Yum!
Now that we are feeling better, thanks to antibiotics, I have to buy some more!
We all hate being sick, especially with something that forces us to stay in bed, feverish and achy. We tend to lie there and feel sorry for ourselves, which I suppose isn't such a terrible thing...as long as it's short lived! I pampered myself with my favorite ice cream and a beloved movie (Little Women), and it did feel somewhat luxurious doing that in the middle of the day when there was work to be done.
My friend Michele has illness in her home this week as well, and she told me via e-mail that maybe this is God's way of slowing us down a bit so we can rest and reflect. My head hurt so badly that I could barely move it, but in my feverish haze I could see her point. (Yes, I dragged myself downstairs to check my e-mail! LOL). I had been running myself down the week prior. Lying in bed gives you time to pray and think, and be still in the moment.
To take my mind off my throat pain, I picked up one of my St. Therese books. Reading about her painful battle with tuberculosis was an eye opener. Her struggles at the end of her life as she tried to stay good natured while in severe pain made my strep throat seem like something so insignificant! What shocked me the most was how, toward the beginning of her illness, she quietly kept up with the rigorous duties of every other Carmelite in the convent: rising at the crack of dawn, fasting, manual labor, structured prayers, choir, and working in the kitchen and laundry. She also woke up many times during the cold winter nights because she was so cold and the rooms had no fire. ( Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't be complaining when the house feels a bit chilly). She never complained, trying to blend in with the rest of her sisters. It must have been very painful for her to do so.
Nobody enjoys suffering, to be sure, but Therese looked at suffering as a pathway to God, and she embraced it willingly, because she yearned to be a great saint. "Sanctity," she declared, "consists in suffering."
We may not all become great saints, but we can model Therese by not complaining when things aren't going our way or we feel under the weather. Not easy to do, is it?