Being sick is of great benefit to me. I don’t know how anyone else feels about it, but I know a good cold or bout of flu does wonders for my perspective. That is not to say that I want to be sick. On the contrary, being sick fills me with a wealth of physical and emotional exhaustion and listlessness. However, some things that are exceedingly good for me are things I enjoy the least. Why do I say this? Here’s 5 points.
1) Being sick reminds me of my fragility. I think pretty highly of myself–much more than I ought, I’m sure. Part of this esteem is my health and fitness, the belief that I take care of myself well, and I am still as strong and youthful as I was in my teens. Being sick tells me that I am no longer in college, and I cannot maintain the lifestyle I did then. It makes stop and assess my health choices. Sometimes it leads to make better ones (that I will inevitably drop, only to get sick again).
2) Being sick forces me to appreciate my health. Like so many humans, I take my health for granted. I feel as though I deserve it or that it’s a given, but I am wrong. A great number of people do not have the health I do. As I age, my health will gradually fade. Being sick reminds of the blessing of good health, of basic abilities, of the mere opportunity to live day to day.
3) Being sick causes me to marvel at the human body. I won’t give you the details of the biological warfare that took place while I was sick last week, but seeing the way in which my body rallied to renew itself was powerful. The body is such an amazing thing, and I give the credit for that to its beautiful design, provided by a magnificent Creator. When I am sick, and I see how hard my body works inherently in spite of its fragility and in pursuit of its health, I cannot help be full of gratitude to God and marvel at his work.
4) Being sick is a wonderful pause button. I am something of a workaholic–especially these days when I am trying to edit one novel, write another, complete a half-dozen small projects, and apply for full time work. In part, I believe that my overflowing plate is due to my insecurities and need to show others that despite my unemployment I am not a derelict or bum–maybe, I am trying to assure myself of these things. But being sick last week put my work on hold and forced me to just lay, pray, and listen. What a valuable requirement! I had nothing clouding my attention; I was basically sleeping, eating, and laying, and the laying led to praying and self-examination and Scripture-by-audio that recalibrated my attitudes and priorities when getting well.
5) Being sick recharges my batteries in order to take off running anew. Rest is hard for me; I have said as much on this very blog. Inasmuch as the body requires work to repair itself during an illness, being laid on one’s back and accepting the inability to accomplish things is restful. One can resign him or herself to doing nothing and really live in that reality without feeling lazy. By the evening of the third day, when I was feeling well again, I could not believe how much I was ready, wiling, and able to dive into my tasks with focus and drive. While I lost three days of efficiency in bed, I sure made up for that time over the last week. My mind and body were ready in a way that they are not after my weekly Sabbath.
So there you have it. Being sick…maybe it’s not so bad.