The new year often ushers in a fresh batch of flu bugs and cold germs. Holiday cheer soon turns to bed-ridden quarantine as the nasty microbes spread among us and our loved ones.
I’ve been stricken with the 24-hour stomach flu followed by a cold that has decided to take up residence in my lungs as bronchitis. For the past fourteen days, I’ve lived in our spare bedroom as I hacked and coughed around the clock. After two weeks of being sick, I must admit the grumpy old man in me is taking hold of my personality as I sit on my pity pot complaining, “Why me?”
Tired of grumbling about how yucky I felt, I finally asked myself two simple questions:
“How is this cold holy?
How is it, my teacher?”
Here’s what I’m learning:
It’s okay to be angry when you’re sick.
Anger is part of being perfectly human. But you don’t need to feed it. You have to starve it by focusing instead on gratitude to shift your perspective.
Between the waves of coughing and sneezing, praying for healing is helpful.
Asking God to be with you in your suffering provides Divine Comfort and opens your heart to nourish your body with healing energy from the Creator.
Move your quiet time into your sick ward.
When the cold first invaded my body, I gave up sipping coffee with the Creator in my den. It was much easier to pull the pillow over my head and blame God for my illness.
But then I discovered moving my quiet time into my bedroom with a propped-up pillow behind me was a soothing way to recreate the healing space of morning meditation. God seemed to sit beside me as I created space for the Creator to snuggle in with me between the sheets and blankets.
Being patient helps.
“This too shall pass,” my mother used to tell us kids when we were undergoing suffering. She’d remind us that the season of angst would eventually pass. Go with the flow, be patient, and trust the wave of suffering will eventually subside.
Listen to your body and rest.
I tried to continue my daily routine of going to the gym, walking my dog two times a day, and attending to daily chores. After several days, my body screamed with aches and demanded, “What are you doing? You’re not Superman. Spend the day in bed or you’re going to develop pneumonia.”
Eventually, I listened to my tired body and crawled back into the sheets and blankets. My body sighed a big thank you.
There are many lessons we can learn when sickness strikes. Sometimes the illness is temporary and other times it can be chronic, leading us home to our Maker.
Whatever we experience, if we befriend the sickness and let it be our teacher, we can discover the holy wisdom we’re being invited to learn. We can grow in mind, body, and Spirit as the Divine Healer comforts our souls and offers rest for our bodies.
What are you learning from your illness? How can it become holy? How is it your teacher?
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