So our cold became the flu or vice versa. Whatever it is, it’s a long-lasting virus that has us all hacking and dragging around. The majority of the kids didn’t get REALLY sick until the last few days, which means we’ve still got another week of illness ahead of us.
Have I ever told you this Large Family Phenomena? We don’t just “catch a little virus.” If one of us catches the sniffles, within a few days, it’s inevitable that we will all be somewhere in the midst of coming down with the sniffles, enduring the sniffles, or recovering from the sniffles. Before you know it, a case of the sniffles has eaten a MONTH of time.
That is the Large Family Law of Illness: One germ can fell the whole family for a month. No lie.
Now, truly, I tell myself often that it is God’s mercy on us that we don’t all come down with the 101 fever on the exact same day. Because then who would throw food into the living room for us to scavenge from? But Andrew and I have recently developed a nasty habit of succumbing at nearly the same time and it’s THROWING OFF OUR VIRAL GAME PLAN.
So we shuffle around the house, leaving Kleenex and microbes in our trail. The sound of coughing fills the air interminably and the humidifiers hum to keep up with our crackling lungs. Every day, Andrew and I feel a tiny bit better. But, oh, it’s SO tiny sometimes. Yesterday I made it to 4 o’clock and then my body said, “Shut ‘er down.”
So we ordered pizza.
Today, I was determined to put dinner on the table. I made an old standby “Cowgirl Beans” and rendered it totally inedible.
We had leftover pizza for the second night in a row.
Just to justify this travesty, I insisted that they all eat one green lettuce leaf with their pizza. They laughed at me, but they complied.
The house is a wreck, my kitchen counter is covered with all manner of potions, oils, and yes, even prescriptions, but in all this ugly, we’re together and we’re blessedly content.
I’m not saying I’d fling open my arms wide to welcome a stomach bug or anything, but these days of quarantine do build the family ties. I’ve been touched by the compassion that appears, even in the middle of all this snot. Sam fetched me water every day until he got a fever. Ellen did extra chores so Ian could sit and blow his nose. The kids have helped entertain Finn, they’ve shared blankets on the couch together, and they’ve been so very understanding of their daddy and me in our weakness and ruined meals.
Tonight, after (muffles number in her hand so you can’t hear it right) days of not caring, I finally felt like tidying my kitchen properly. I pondered my verse for the week as I scrubbed dishes and wiped counters. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”*
Jesus took on this weak, sad little skin of ours… He lived with us, we quarantined victims of sin-sick bodies. He moved among our messes with grace and healing. And such Love.
And then… oh, I’m so glad, He beat all the death and decay and FLU and one day, no single germ will defeat us in the light of His glorious rescue.
He’s a WAY better Antidote than any potion dwelling on my counter at this moment.
In the meantime, we’re still here, sniffling and shuffling, putting band-aids and medicines on what only He can truly bring back to life. But we see glimpses of Him when brothers share the very last Kleenex (don’t think about it too hard) or sisters hunt down the baby’s cup while he cries over flu and teething.
And we wait together, breathlessly, for all the germs to disappear….forever.