Sunday, February 11, 2018

When (Involuntary) Penances Begin before Lent (Or, Why No Regular Post This Sunday)

Picture three children, laying feverish on an air mattress on a living room floor.  

Now, picture a mom laying on a couch.  

Now, picture a Mom and son laying together in the dark unable to turn an electric light on.

You have just pictured the last two weeks of our lives here. 

Abut two weeks ago my daughter went down with a fever and her siblings soon followed.  Their fevers were high and their energy low, but they were champs as Daddy and I nursed them back to health - and, before a week was out, they were fever free.

Still, I kept us quarantined just to ensure that we would not pass on any unwanted germ gifts to others, for I had heard this year's bug is contagious from one day prior to symptoms until three days or so after the first symptom appears.  Thus, I wanted to be certain that my children were free and clear - and that I was not going to get hit - before venturing out.

When what I thought was our safe "greenlight" day came, out we went for a few hours and... BOOM!  That very night I got hit with something.  

That something brought fevers, chills, and lethargy like my children had had, but also persisted after fevers abated with persistent lightheadnedness and other symptoms that only I seem to suffer from.  These symptoms did not debilitate me completely, but sure have been making doing anything on my feet for more than 15 minutes or so difficult, which is not fun and is also not conducive to homeschool mothering. 

Praise God, then, for relatively good kids, a committed husband, and plenty of prayers from friends and family this past week. Without them, the week would have been a disaster.  Also, props to God for reminding me that sometimes, all you can do is laugh.

In fact, the wee hours of this morning found me in the midst of a comedy of errors that made me do just that - well, after moments of concern, disgust, and frustration passed.

You see, in the middle of the night, our electricity suddenly went out.  While we were in the dark, my oldest son woke up and got scared.  I heard him immediately, and called to him to explain that the lights were out and he could follow the flashlight beam to me if he needed comfort.  He did an fell onto the couch next to me n a heap. 

I stroked his hair and back and said, "Buddy, it's okay.  Did you have a bad dream? I bet waking up to such darkness really scared you. Mama's here, though.  He looked at me, face twisted, and said, "I don't feel well."  I told him he was probably just scared.  Mama was with him.  It would be okay.

For a minute, my son began to quiet, but, then, he got up and raced to the bathroom thinking he might be sick.  But,no, he was okay.

When my son returned to me, I hugged him and said, "Maybe you're just anxious, buddy.  Sit with, Mama.  You'll be okay."  he did, but,then, got up and stumbled through the darkness to the bathroom again.  This time he did get sick, and, unfortunately, did not make it to the toilet.  But, at least he was able to find the sink.

So, then, as my son sat on the bathroom floor debating if he was going to have another bout of sickness, I found myself, standing, lightheaded, trying to clean and unclog the sink using just a tiny stream of flashlight to tackle the task by.  Thankfully, as I was finishing the rather disgusting job, my husband awoke and helped me arrange a sick bed for my son- all by flashlight beam, of course. 

As I tucked my son in gave him a new blessing, and kissed his forehead in the dark, I could not help but to laugh.  Boy down.  Mama down.  Lights down.  But, spirit not down. 

These involuntary penances have a purpose, I am certain.  If we offer them up, they can be used for good.  And, so, even as we move from week two to week three of sickness here, I am grateful.

All things work together for good - even electric outages and sickness - and most certainly prayers and support.

However your Lenten journey begins this year, may love and prayers be pervasive.


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