Saint Therese of Lisieux,
in her sick bed
No one enjoys being sick, including me, but I find that a protracted illness gives me more-than-usual downtime in which to examine my life, count my blessings, and make some resolutions about possible changes to my lifestyle.
Currently, I have this wretched virus which, thanks to my asthma, is clinging to me like a baby monkey on its mum's back. Illness, when it is particularly bad, makes me contemplate my impending death. By "impending," I mean that we are all going to die in the relatively near future. When it is relatively mild, such as the current malaise, I tend to review my eating and exercise habits with a view toward improving them and boosting my immune system.
First, however, I experience an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Thanks be to be God, I live in a relatively secure apartment, and if I am rendered weak as baby for a few days, no one is going to invade the place, dispose of me and then take up residence, as may happen in some primitive cultures. I have clean, pure water that comes out of the taps and I don't have to trudge down to the local river and carry it home on my head, as is still done in many places.
Toilet tissue, facial tissues, saline water in a bottle, a thermometer, blood pressure cuff, a refrigerator/freezer containing a supply of foodstuffs, vitamins, over-the-counter and prescription medications, a comfortable, clean bed, and a host of other benefits of civilization are at hand.
When it is all over, I have a washer/dryer, a mop, some disinfectant, and other cleaning items I can use to chase the germs out of the house so that I don't reinfect myself or, God forbid, get someone else sick because they touched a germy doorknob.
Getting sick is a good opportunity to take a step back and acknowledge the overall situation, in a global context. If I lived in a village in Africa, I could easily be dead by now. This is a tremendous reason to be grateful to God that he chose to have me born here in the United States with all its lifestyle benefits. Granted, we have some problems now, but the overall situation is pretty good, in comparison to other countries.
After running through my list of things for which I am grateful, the next thing I feel is a tremendous compassion for those people in the world who struggle with survival in ways that I probably never will. Then I pray for them.
God bless you all.
Silver Rose Parnell