Paul writes... My lovely wife is sick and tired of me. Well specifically me when i was being ill this week. To her illness is such a pointless waste of time (which is why for Deb it is something to be ignored until you can't ignore it and keel over).
Her view of illness as a waste is one that I have a lot of sympathy for.
I opened the front door to 6 foot stag beetle, it took one look at me and punched me in the face. Apparently there is a nasty bug going round!!!
Being sick & tired (the two seem to go hand in cold clammy hand) rob life of a lot of its quality - literally this week the colour has been drained out of the world as i've seen grey and the energy has not been there except to shiver.
It is obvious that I am experiencing dis-ease... the unfairness of a nose that drips so much that it drives me crazy until i wish it would stop and then it over night it stops dripping and sets solid blocking my sinuses and not letting me breathe.
Being ill i have also had pleny of time to reflect on the misery and on the hope...
my failing body - I use my body a lot, i probably abuse it a lot more. It is only when it is valiantly fighting infection and not doing what i want that i realise not only how wonderful it is but also how i can do helpful things like eat fruit! It has brought back the reality of my own mortality and that sense of wonder that i am more than a decaying lump of meat on two legs. Life is such a great mystery and no more so the need for sleep. I often sacrifice sleep so that i can cram more into my life and when i need it the most to help me recover my body seems to sabatage itself so i can not breathe.
sick on different levels - I am also very glad that when I am sick i have someone else to run around for me (no wonder Deb's is sick of me!) but I aslo resent the fact that I have to ask someone to help me. I want to be strong enough to do what I want when I want and I feel frustrated that I am so tired and weak. Illness may be a pain but it does bring my pride to the surface and reveal how deep my own self sickness goes - for exampe as i get better i find myself thinking how i can use my illness to get out of things that I don't want to do.
compassion - the only beautiful thing about being sick is seeing the compassion that it evokes in others (well the revulsion at the colours my nose produces is also pretty fun too - look out for a new dulux range soon!). My four year old son is a firm believer in the healing power of laughter and has been reading me jokes he has made up about why the chicken crossed the road!
"Doctor, you got to help me I've got a steering wheel down my trousers!" "What's so bad about that?" It's driving me nuts!"
I have had friends who have prayed for me and asked me what else they can do? I have a wife who has looked after me and the kids and been rewarded with exhaustion and PMT!
the 4 horsemen of 21st century western life...
Sick/tired/stressed/busy seem to be the 4 conditions that I am most likely to be in - they each reflect for me something that is broken with the world but also when i encounter them in me and in others there also comes the opportunity to stop and find/bring healing/energy/encouragement/time. To involve God in my life with others where I am in sickness and in health it reminds me of how it is in following Jesus I won't avoid sickness and pain but i am promised help beyond me when I am weary.
I love how the Message version puts these words of Jesus recorded by Matthew:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
What are you sick and tired of?
I have another friend who has an almost obsessive compulsive desire that there should be a home for everything and everything should be in its home - i have a lot of sympathy for that view as well, but that's another post...