I sat at my desk and coughed.

Again. Just a short one. But enough to have me notice that it seemed to be happening a lot.

I felt that familiar tightness in my chest. I knew this wasn’t the normal chest/stomach anxiety that had lived there for over 2 years. This was real sickness- tightness. I had felt it coming on for a few days now. A bit of a shiver. The wave of dread sliding from the top-down resting in the big muscles in the thigh in the form of aches. My white blood cells working overtime trying to combat this invader. I went home and popped vitamin C, zinc, echinacea, & silver. Two days later I tasted it. That taste you get when you cough. When you know that you’re in for a few weeks of miserable Flem, snot & fevers. Ughhhhh. The dread of knowing your body has been invaded by a viral species.

Who has time to be sick?? I did a covid test on myself for the 3rd time this week.

Negative. Great.

Now I have to be sick PLUS not have an excuse to miss work. See, in nursing, and before covid, you had to be practically dying with the pastor calling your boss for you to call off sick.

I know, I know. But we take care of sick people, we can’t be sick. In theory and on paper, that’s true. But in the real world, you load up on cold medicine, and if anyone notices, you say you have allergies and no one blinks an eye. Now, after Covid, people would back away from you if you so much as uttered a little Kerchoo! But things have changed in the last 9 months. The long-talked-about nursing shortage is happening in real-time. There are no extra bodies to cover your shift. You work pretty much through anything.

I started thinking about when the last time I was sick was. It was October 2019. Despite being around covid positive patients and not missing a day of work since I had not been truly ill for almost 2 years.

Why now?

Hmmm. The day before my first chest tightness was the day I dropped my 36-year-old son off at rehab. We have been waiting 2 years for this. Even with the court breathing down his neck, he knew it was time. He told me he was tired of running.

Best words I’ve heard in a long time!

Tired of running.

I was tired too. My son had addicted himself out of a house, car, job, and family. He had been scoraging around, always “trying to start over with nothing” as he put it. He even had a bullet hole in his leg from one of his jaunts to Vegas. Most people who “start over” don’t get a bullet hole in the process. Bullet hole, to me, meant you’re still on the downward slide. But who am I to know anything?

I had met his addiction head-on trying to lead him out of this hellhole. I had begged and pleaded for him to see the light. When he was released from jail earlier this summer, on a Saturday afternoon, I was devastated. I thought the chances of him going to prison were exponentially high because I knew beyond a shadow of the doubt that he wouldn’t check in with pretrial probation as they asked. I tried to stay out of it. I did. But just because we “stay out of it” doesn’t mean our insides aren’t churning like a taffy twisting machine you see at the carnival. So while my stomach was in knots for the 9 weeks he was out, he finally went back to jail in the best scenario possible: Pulled over on warrants, with no new charges. This time, for 33 days, we (me & the lawyers) made sure he wasn’t getting out except to rehab.

So here we are. Him safe, me sick.

The very fact that I came down with one of the worst colds/ flu I’ve ever had the minute he was safe in rehab, was not a coincidence.

I think it’s God’s way of saying, “Rest, child”. Joanna Weaver states in her article on 7 verses for when you are weary:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

God knows what you need. Like a good shepherd, He ensures we have seasons of rest in green pastures and beside quiet waters. He also knows that to get to some of those restful places we may have to walk through a dark valley first, but He offers His presence to guide, protect and comfort us every step of the way.

No hurt is overlooked, no pain is wasted, no child of God is left behind. God will carry you through to the other side.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4"-

‘He MAKES me lie down in green pastures. I have always believed sickness is our body’s way of telling us (making us) to slow down. When we can’t seem to do it ourselves because of our martyrdom, or our real responsibilities. Ironically, I used to send my addicted son this quote when he was at the height of running his businesses and showed no reprieve in his drive and ambition.

He would soon live up to that and spent 3 years counting, in addiction, and now whatever time it will take to climb out. I’m forever grateful for the chances he gets and the second chance he has to live. I’m grateful that things have seemed to turn in his favor. Tonight as I settled in for a rainy afternoon making me some homemade chicken noodle soup, just like my mama used to make; I breathed in a sigh of relief. I guess it was time to take care of myself. I guess I needed this illness. I “earned” it. Not that anyone deserves suffering, more like forced to slow down for their own good. As I sat down to eat hours later, it was then I realized I had forgotten to add the chicken. My soup was just Noodle Soup.

Oh well. Go figure. Recovery is not a straight line. And neither is my cooking! Sometimes the chicken doesn’t even cross the road…or my stove!