Old man winter is on his way. With the fall weather changing from cold to warm, and back again, my body doesn’t know quite what to think. RIght now it’s decided to cough, sneeze, and make it hard for me to breath. This is a little inconvenient, but while I was lying awake coughing about 2:30 last night, I realized something. I realized, that when I’m sick, in a funny way, I appreciate things a whole lot more.
For instance, when I’m well, I never seem to notice just how wonderful it feels to turn my pillow over and find a nice, cool, spot on my velvety-soft, worn, flannel pillowcase. I never seem to think about how good it is to draw a clear breath of air without having the urge to cough or hear a rasping breath. I never notice how truly blissful it is to soak in a hot bath, and then put on my favorite, old, flannel nightgown. The steam from a cup of hot tea and the sweet taste of our farm honey (that I generously drizzle in my cup!) just seem a little richer when I’m sick.
Of course, after I’ve been “puny” as my grandma would say, it’s such a joyful experience to begin to feel better. Have you ever noticed how good food tastes when you begin to get your appetite back? It’s like everything you eat has been cooked to perfection! When I begin to get well, I can’t help but celebrate a million little victories, like sleeping through the night, taking a walk outside, or reading aloud with a clear voice, that I wasn’t able to do while I was sick.
Even though it’s not much fun to be sick, it sure does put things in a different perspective. It always makes me especially grateful that I only have a cold or a virus. There are so many people who live every day with chronic pain and illness. Chronic pain and illness play no favorites. They can attack both the young and old. I am always amazed at the strength and faith of those that live with illness every day, especially those that are shut in and are unable to leave their homes.
This time of year, there is much talk about being thankful. We have so much to be thankful for, especially our health. Stop for a moment today and consider what a blessing it is to be healthy. Think about how much it means to you, when you are feeling “puny”, for someone to fix you a nourishing meal, give you a needed break-time, or just offer a few words of encouragement.
A great way to show thankfulness this season, or any time of the year, would be to take some time to help someone that is struggling with pain or illness. Look around you. I bet you can find a co-worker, next door neighbor, fellow church member, or friend that could use some help. Not sure how to go about it?
I think the best way is one I’ve learned from my mother-in-law Beth. Surprise attack! Don’t ask, just do. Step out in faith and be bold. Many times, I have seen Beth fix a pan of cornbread and a pot of soup for someone and just drop by their house with a ready made dinner. She’s also notorious for taking plates of cookies to people and stopping by, “just to check on them”. I’ve been with her on several of these impromptu visits and have always been richly rewarded to see the smiles and sometimes happy tears that can be found when true friendship is shown.
So often, when we are healthy, it is easy to forget how isolated and miserable you can feel if you are sick or in pain, especially if the illness or pain is chronic. Let’s remember the famous words found in Matthew 7:12, “so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” and in Matthew 19:19, “love your neighbor as yourself”.