While the hype steamed up about release of 50 Shades of Grey, we were producing our own steam here at the shallow household: with a humidifier.
It is flu season in Maine and though Patrick had his ineffective-to-most-strains flu shot, he came down with a rip-roaring case. Things hit him hard, and he went from upright to flat in bed 60 seconds after that first cough.
I have to admit it. I thought he was making a big deal out of a minor cold, and I was just a little bit judgey. My eyes rolled a couple of times as I watched him shivering under 8 blankets. If I’m totally honest I thought he was being a tiny bit dramatic.
I went through the motions of being a supportive wife. I bought him all the standard cold symptom remedies, and soup and ginger ale. Then I implied that perhaps he would recover sooner if he didn’t use medicines that only mask symptoms. And I educated him on how fever is the body’s natural response to help fight infection. I even boasted to a friend at a church Bible study that Patrick was sick, but I didn’t expect to get anything due to my magnificent immune system.
Then the unthinkable happened. I got it. I got it really bad.
I ached, shivered, dripped, coughed and could barely crawl on all fours to the medicine cabinet to load up on Tylenol, Aleve, inhalers, nose spray, and cough syrup. I deeply regretted that I had been too cheap to buy tissues with aloe as I surveyed my chapped nose. Surprise sneezing and coughing fits prompted frequent trips to the underwear drawer.
Since Patrick was a couple of days ahead of me and feeling slightly better, you might think he finally had his chance for revenge. He could have said I told you so, or rolled his eyes. I would have rolled my eyes at myself, but it was too much effort and far too painful. But instead he was sympathetic and kind.
It is really easy to love on Valentine’s Day when roses and candy abound. But to love someone who is dripping foul discharge, and crying with self-pity in the fetal position? That takes true love inspired by God. Someone who strokes my forehead and sings, ‘Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur’ is taking seriously chapter 13 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. “Love is patient, love is kind.”
It is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is commonplace to give something up during these 40 days of preparation for Easter, the most significant event of the Christian year. This is usually difficult for me since it requires deep thinking and sacrifice, but this year my delirium has made it easy for me. I have decided to give up coughing, wheezing and here is the big one (wait for it): rolling my eyes.
How well do you think I’ve learned my lesson? Are you giving anything up for Lent?