Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Sickies: Of Disappointments and Gratitude

Wednesday night I was awakened to the sound of Coraline cough/choking. I sent Ben in to check on her, and -- well, let's just say she was sick.

I slept in her room, holding her upright in the rocking chair. I awoke every hour or so, to clean and comfort her. It was a long night, but by morning she was on the mend and I was laying in bed catching up on some missed sleep.

Then I heard Ben holler for help. He'd cut his thumb pretty badly on our apple slicer. I ran out to help him put pressure on his thumb and insisted he sit down. He was pale and dizzy and about to pass out. Needless to say, he ended up staying home from work for most of the day. After several hours in bed, he and Coraline both felt better.

By evening it seemed as though our house would return to normal. But before Ben and I made it to bed, Nell woke up sick. So she and I slept on the couch together. I sat upright in the recliner and she leaned against me, waking up every hour or so for some comfort and clean up.

We had big plans to go see Ben's family this weekend. He has Monday off, and two of his little sisters -- who have a child both Reid and Nell's exact age (like literally born just hours apart) -- are visiting from Utah. We were all looking forward to such a fun weekend with family. That obviously all changed when the norovirus hit our house. We we're definitely all disappointed by that, but I'm actually surprised by how well each of my kids handled the bad news. I suppose they just wanted to slow down and get some rest anyway.

I kept telling Ben that I had a feeling my body would fight it off while I was busy caring for the kids -- but that once things settled and I got to relax I'd be hit. And that is exactly what happened.

Reid woke up Saturday telling me he felt a little sick. Not sure if he was hungry or truly sick, I gave him something light to eat and waited to see what happened. Well, about an hour later he was telling me I'd given him the wrong foods and that they had made his tummy sick. He spent the whole day watching movies. Thankfully he needed a lot less comfort and clean up than the girls. Both because he had a milder version of the stomach bug, but also because he can hold a garbage can and aim all on his own. It's such a lovely stage to enter.

Anyway, my predictions were accurate. Once they were all in bed on Saturday night, recovering quite nicely from all that had ailed us the past three days, my body gave in. Before anything major happened I asked Ben to give me a priesthood blessing. I took note of a couple different promises. One was that I would be healed depending on my faith and the faith of those offering the blessing (Ben and our Bishop). That left me with a lot of hope and I crawled in bed thinking I could sleep everything off.

Well, within fifteen minutes I was rushing to the bathroom. It's interesting to me, how getting the stomach bug always humbles me. As I sat on the bathroom floor I was thinking about that promise, how my faith should have made me all better. I didn't actually doubt my faith (or that of the others), instead I just realized that being sick for those short few minutes was my body getting better. It was horrible, awful for five minutes, and then it was done. My girls had spent 12 hours, heaving every hour -- but I got it all done in five minutes.

I also thought about how having that same illness helped me think about my kids and their suffering, and that of course made me ponder the power of Christ's atonement.

I know, I know ... this post is super weird. First, who wants to read about our bout with the throw ups? No one. No one! And why am I making it all about spiritual things? Well, because getting sick always brings me closer to my Father in Heaven. I still remember a time, some twenty-plus years ago when I was sick and I asked my father for a blessing. He told me it wouldn't magically make me better, and I realized I didn't care. I just wanted words of comfort, sent from my Father in Heaven.

Basically every time I've been sick since then I have asked for a blessing, and rarely have I immediately felt better. At least not physically, but I'm always given the strength to get through whatever ails me. And this phenomenon is worth noting. I love that even in moments of great disappointments -- missing family fun and having to care for sick kids -- I can find gratitude for the wonder that is my body and the beauty that is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

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