The walls close in and all I can hear is my own breathing in and out. There are faint sounds in the backdrop, life goes on. Snatches of words from the television, the three Canadian geese who make an appearance with their cries above almost every afternoon. The hiss of the tea kettle as it simmers down. Sometimes it’s not so bad to be sick, that is, when you know the outcome…….when you know what you have is normal, when you know you will get better. But even sick, the world waits outside and I feel the weight of it through the window. That doesn’t change even when flu renders you inactive. I get a fleeting thought, I wonder how it would feel to just stay here? Sit it all out. It does get tiring, this life. I keep my phone handy. I read the prayer requests between dozing off. They come zinging in through instant messages and one-liners on the Facebook news feed. And I can feel the need behind them. And in some cases the desperation behind them. I will pray. I can do that between breaths, between coughs, between naps. Sometimes, being sick is okay because it reminds us of all that we do have.
You tend to be more aware of everything when you’re rendered…..sequestered…..silent. On the sidelines.
I think of those alone and sick with nobody to help them. I see the commercials, of Orphans and Old Jewish people without heat. My Mom sends them money. I’m blessed. I have a special someone who brings cough drops, medicine, company, laughs and chicken soup. I reach further back and my gratitude slams against the memory. It’s my Mom’s hands I feel now lifting my head, fluffing my pillow, taking away the trashcan by the bed, bringing a cool cloth. Yes, being sick reminds us of what we do have. I turn and feel the cool softness of sheets and I sink down. Exhausted. So glad I can stay here and no one pounds on the door, I can just rest and get better. In a clean peaceful place. Yes, this is luxury many don’t have. And tomorrow, once again, I will enter the land of the living. I will enter back into the fray, this world that is part graveyard, part paradise. And I will make the choice for life because I can. And I will remember the ones who can’t. Those waiting on the sidelines.