I have a friend who, while attending college here at Christendom, spend the entirety of her Freshman year bed-ridden with a serious and dangerous illness. Occasionally rising for classes, she confided in me once that it was God who had helped her with classes and life that year. She couldn’t crack a book. Of course, my reaction was sympathy. I could not empathize because I had neer been bed-ridden at all in my life.
Christendom is like a Petri dish. All illnesses get caught inside our Holy bubble and fester. Of course, being an overachiever and overextender, I always seem to catch everything going around and always at the worst possible times. Last Thursday night, in the middle of my night class, I suddenly realized I could not see the professor. I couldn’t see anything. After seven years of freedom, I was getting a migraine. I picked up what belongings I could and left the classroom. Friday morning came, and I was feeling no better. This was not surprising. I usually feel better about 24 hours after succumbing to these little samples of Inferno. Friday night came, and I was still strangely tired; Saturday and Sunday all found me the same. Frustrated, I was curious as to why this migraine was hanging on so long. Then came Sunday night. I was burning inside and out. My wastebasket suddenly became attached to my hip and I began running fever. Darned migraine, I thought. I began to feel worse. I climbed into bed, but was feeling so awful I didn’t fall asleep until 2:30 in the morning. Long story short, I spent seven days in bed. Through it all, I finally realized the migraine was the beginning of a wicked strain of the Flu.
Okay, I now have an incredibly small idea of how my friend felt. As a social, happy person, I hate being stuck in bed. However, I can usually handle the imprisonment for two or three days…not seven. My friends were very patient and my sister took wonderful care of me. I can’t remember having been that sick in a long time. I ran fever for at least three days and on Tuesday was convincend the end was at hand. I know. But, I was tired.
As I lay in bed, two things kept running through my head. First, I badly wanted to go to Mass and be with Jesus. I hadn’t seen Him in several days. Beyond this, people take thier health for granted. As I lay there in bed, worrying about all the commitments I was breaking, I realized how far we push ourselves. Committing to innumerable activities, not going to bed until we absolutely must, filling our mind with silly worries, the list goes on. Then, God sends the Flu. He tries preliminaries, but for all of our worrying and running we don’t hear Him say, “Calm the heck down, my young Paduan. All things in My time.” And so He lays the smackdown. I listened this time while lying in bed.
People need to slow down, enjoy life, not worry so much. Stop, watch the waving daffodils on the hill, smell the scent of coffee lingering in the kitchen, sleep. God wants us to take care of our bodies, His gifts to us. So, I am trying to take better care of myself and change some of my habits. I realized there’s a truth behind one’s health: you don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve lost it.