Sunday, September 07, 2008

Kleenex and patience

God is teaching us patience.

The Ravishing Mrs. TB has been sick for almost three weeks now, since the middle of August. At first, she acquired Nighean dhonn's strep throat, which she managed to get over after a visit to the doctor and some antibiotics. She seemed on the road to recovery when she then contracted another cold, which turned into a cough, which is what she currently has right now. Originally a bit annoying, it sounds (to me) like it is building back up to something.

For her, it is frustrating: she always seems to get sick in the fall, always about this time, always seriously. This year, she tried to avoid it by consciously taking vitamins (including echinacea, and large doses of vitamin C) and getting rest - all to no avail. She hates to be sick, has a great deal to do, and is just miserable.

For myself, I want my wife to be back healthy. I don't handle other sick people well, especially when it does not fit into my plans. I tend to think "Sick? Then rest and get better!" The problem is that that theory does not work for everybody. I'm even willing to ride the "Let's be a helper" train - but not, it seems, for over three weeks.

It makes me reflect on the difficulty that those who care for loved ones who are chronically ill, or those who are chronically ill, go through. What would it be like to know someone is ill and they will not ever be getting better? Especially if the illness affects not only their physical health, but their mental and emotional being as well, perhaps becoming a different person than the one we originally knew? - because, if you've even been around someone with a long cold, you know how the physical suffering influences their outlook, personality, and emotions.

In a way, I suppose it is lamentable that we have struck "In sickness and in health" from many of our wedding ceremonies. Sickness and health are two conditions that marriage partners face each day - you're sick or you're healthy. The interaction of the two, especially when one is sick and the other is not, is another mechanism that God uses to grow us, especially in patience, self-control, caring, self-sacrifice, and love.

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