My stars have been lucky when it comes to avoiding most of the contagious bugs that seem to catch others, which makes it easy to take my good health for granted. It’s been a good three or four years since I’ve come down with anything, but as I write this, a nasty summer cold is having its way with me.
When my daughters were growing up I came to love it when one or the other stayed home sick. I’d make chicken soup and butter crackers (saltines heated in the oven and slathered with butter), pull out popsicles from the freezer and play any or all of our three favorite sick-day movies— I Love Trouble, The Never Ending Story, and The Princess Bride. What I loved about those days wasn’t that the girls were sick, but the invitation to step out of ordinary time, away from doing and into being.
There’s nothing fun about being sick, but tending to someone who is gives us a chance to forget about ourselves and focus on the needs of someone else, which, I have to say, can be a very healthy thing to do.
When I’m sick, my first thought is always to power through, to keep on keeping on, and maybe feel just a tiny bit sorry for myself. This morning, a couple of days into this thing, I remembered those sick days. It’s too hot for chicken soup, but butter crackers and pop-circles are sounding pretty good, and I’ve got a few more episodes of Season 8 of Suits to finish up. Being under the weather issued an invitation to step out of ordinary time, away from doing and into being.
There’s nothing fun about being sick, but when we are, tending to ourselves gives us a chance to let go of the needs of others, and focus on our own, which, I have to say, can be a very healthy thing to do.